GPI board wel­comes two new di­rec­tors at SGM

The Mercury - - BUSINESS REPORT NEWS - JOSEPH BOOYSEN [email protected]

GRAND Pa­rade In­vest­ments (GPI) board has wel­comed two new di­rec­tors while re­tain­ing two of its long-stand­ing di­rec­tors. This was an­nounced at a spe­cial gen­eral meet­ing (SGM) held on Wed­nes­day night in Athlone, Cape Town.

This out­come fol­lows an ear­lier meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 31, which was ad­journed after share­hold­ers ob­jected to the meet­ing pro­ceed­ing on the ba­sis that they did not have suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion to ex­er­cise their vote.

Also, non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors at that meet­ing in­di­cated that they were not fur­nished with rea­sons from the dis­si­dent fund man­agers for their pro­posed re­moval.

The two new ap­pointees fol­low a pro­tracted bat­tle where a mi­nor­ity group of fund man­agers aimed to take over lead­er­ship of GPI, one of South Africa’s first truly broad-based black em­pow­er­ment com­pa­nies, through pro­posed res­o­lu­tions that would have seen the GPI board re-con­sti­tuted with four new non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors, had the vote gone in favour of the fund man­agers.

Ac­cord­ing to GPI’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Mohsin Ta­jb­hai, the board is happy to wel­come Mark Bow­man, a former SABMiller ex­ec­u­tive and former Spur fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor, Ronel van Dijk, to the board of di­rec­tors.

“We are con­fi­dent that the new mem­bers will add tremen­dous value and drive the busi­ness for­ward, par­tic­u­larly in the role out of Burger King, which is one of our largest in­vest­ments. “The out­come of the SGM has al­lowed us to re­tain the nec­es­sary skills and knowl­edge in Alex Aber­crom­bie and Dr Nor­man Ma­haraj, who have in­stru­men­tal in over­see­ing the com­pany’s gam­ing as­sets. The out­come of the SGM is in my view, a true shared value out­come,” said Ta­jb­hai.

Ta­jb­hai said both ap­pointees were ini­tially ear­marked for ap­point­ment when GPI tried to set­tle the dis­pute am­i­ca­bly shortly after the re­quest for the SGM was re­ceived by the fund man­agers.

“We ex­tended an olive branch to ap­point two new mem­bers to our board as we be­lieved they would bring the nec­es­sary skills to build on GPI’s long-term in­vest­ment strat­egy of creat­ing sus­tain­able long-term share­holder value and un­lock­ing the cur­rent mas­sively un­der-re­alised value of GPI,” he said.

Ta­jb­hai said the olive branch was re­fused as the fund man­agers gunned for all four spots on the board sig­nalling hos­tile in­tent.

In 2014, GPI was trad­ing at a record high of R7.50 per share, driven pre­dom­i­nantly by the ex­cite­ment that Burger King had to of­fer.

GPI shares closed 1.64 per­cent up at R3.10 on the JSE yes­ter­day.

ALAN DIAZ AP

A CUS­TOMER picks up an or­der at a Burger King drive-thru in Mi­ami. Burger King is the dar­ling of the GPI board at present. |

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