ShareSoc led a campaign fronted by Nick Curtis at the August 2019 AGM to remove the directors and institute governance changes. There had been concerns from shareholders around the length of director service, investment management fees, performance fee calculations and high management costs.
Whilst the majority of the directors remained, Paul Thomas, the Temporis representative, was removed and given the high level of shareholder dissatisfaction (at nearly 50% of the vote) Nick Curtis was asked to go on the board of Ventus. Since the 2019 AGM there has been positive news flow with the renegotiation of the investment management agreement and reduction in fees to 1.15% of NAV.
On 1st March 2021 a further RNS was issued where the directors unanimously recommended that the assets of the Companies be sold. This requires a simple majority to pass and a circular with further information will be sent to shareholders shortly.
ShareSoc considers that this is positive development and would recommend a vote in favour. Due to VCT rule changes, the funds can make no further investments in renewable assets and are increasingly sub-scale. The cost ratio will only increase over time. The assets are wasting both economically (as the subsidy periods end) and physically. Although shareholders are currently receiving a c.8% tax free yield this will be offset by capital losses as NAV falls followed by reduced dividends.
Reverse enquiry for the assets appears to have given the directors confidence in predicting a sale premium of 25% to 32% over the pre-announcement share price. EY has been appointed to run the sales process, if the vote is successful, and this should give shareholders comfort that the process will be well managed. Full announcement can be found on the Companies website here https://www.ventusvct.com/pdf/2021-03-01%20Proposed%20Disposal%20of%20Assets.pdf
Nick Curtis will be appearing at the VCT webinar on 23 March, which starts at 5pm, click here for more details and to register https://www.sharesoc.org/events/sharesoc-webinar-vct-campaign-update23-march-2021/
Cliff Weight, Director ShareSoc
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