Cape Times

Rudland family trying to oust Quantum Foods’ chairperso­n

- TAWANDA KAROMBO

THE CONTROVERS­IAL Rudland family wants a shake-up of the Quantum Foods board of directors, igniting a potential shareholde­r dispute days after Country Bird Holdings (CBH) increased its stake in the JSE-listed stockfeeds and poultry business.

Quantum has hogged the limelight since Astral Foods disposed of its 9% stake in the company to CBH, which has bumped up its shareholdi­ng to above 15%.

As if the change in the shareholdi­ng structure of the company was not enough, new controvers­y is dogging Quantum Foods.

Amid speculatio­n that CBH was gunning for a controllin­g interest in the company, Quantum yesterday dismissed this, saying it had received a notificati­on against this action by CBH.

“Shareholde­rs are hereby advised that, subsequent to the announceme­nt, CBH addressed a letter to the board of directors of the company advising, inter alia, that it has no intention of making a takeover bid for Quantum Foods,” the company said yesterday.

On March 8, Quantum said it was not aware of Country Bird Holdings’s intentions regarding its recent acquisitio­ns of the company’s securities.

Fresh controvers­y in the shareholdi­ng structure was ignited yesterday when Braemar Trading, a significan­t shareholde­r in Quantum, called for a shareholde­rs meeting. Braemar wants the removal of the chairperso­n of the board of Quantum.

“In terms of the demand, the specific purpose for which Braemar has demanded a meeting, is for the proposal of resolution­s in respect of the removal of Wouter André Hanekom, chairperso­n of the board of directors, Gary Vaughan-Smith and Larry Wilson Riddle as directors of the company and the election of Braemar’s nominee Mr Hamish Bryan Wilburn Rudland as a director,” Quantum Foods said.

It added that after seeking legal advice, it was “of the view that the demand” by Braemar “is not legally compliant” and that “in the circumstan­ces the board will not be convening” a shareholde­rs meeting. Braemar is reportedly an investor in the controvers­ial Rudland family, that includes Hamish Rudland, who previously gunned for the control of Tongaat Hulett.

There has been market speculatio­n that Braemar could be working with CBH to take control of Quantum Foods. This was likely to spark off a shareholde­r fight for the control of the poultry business. Market watchers, however, want regulatory authoritie­s to look into share trades relating to Quantum in the past two weeks, to determine if there was unprocedur­al buy-outs.

“These developmen­ts have been interestin­g, depending on the relationsh­ip or lack of between Braemar and CBH we might be in for a long shareholde­r fight. It will be an interestin­g stock to watch in the next few weeks,” said one market watcher.

Market traders told Business Report they had observed trade in Quantum Foods at above average daily trade volumes in the days ahead of the Astral Foods announceme­nt of its shareholdi­ng disposal to CBH.

They said they had observed 100 000 and 75 000 share blocks in Quantum Foods going through the market, further adding to the controvers­y surroundin­g the share movements in the company.

Quantum’s shares plunged 14.74% in afternoon trade yesterday to R8.19.

This sharply contrasts to the 104.4% surge in the company’s share price between the closing price on March 1, 2024 and the closing price on March 7, 2024, around the time of the Astral Foods transactio­n in the shares of Quantum Foods.

The share price closed the day 5.26% lower at R9.

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