Company News

RIT Capital Partners, Foresight 4 VCT and Sepsis

RIT Capital Partners (RCP) is an investment trust that recently issued its interim report. As one of my longer standing holdings, first purchased in 2003 although I have reduced my holding of late, I read the report with interest. RCP has been a long-standing favourite of private investors having traditionally taken a somewhat defensive investment approach. But the portfolio is now most peculiar. It contains 8.8% of “quoted equities” but many of them are held as “swaps”, 27.7% in “long-only funds”, ...

RedstoneConnect (Smartspace Software) AGM and Branding

Today (30/7/2018) I attended the Annual General Meeting of RedstoneConnect Plc (REDS) which was promptly renamed Smartspace Software Plc at the meeting. Although there were only a few ordinary shareholders present, this proved to be an informative meeting. It was chaired by new Chairman Guy van Zwanenberg. With former CEO Mark Braund having departed recently after major disposals leaving the company to focus on the remaining software business, the new CEO is Frank Beechinor who was the former Chairman. Frank is also ...

Lax Regulation (Globo, GRG) and Japanese Trust AGM

Globo was one of those AIM companies that turned out to be a complete fraud. Back in December 2015 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced an investigation into the audits of the company by Grant Thornton (GT). Even the cash reported on the balance sheet in the consolidated accounts of the parent company proved to be non-existent (or had been stolen perhaps). I have previously complained about the slow progress and the lack of any information on this investigation. But former shareholders ... Read more

GB Group, Social Media, Rightmove and Alliance Trust

Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of GB Group (GBG) in Chester. An absolutely horrendous road journey both there and back mainly due to road works as far as I can tell. But my satnav took me on the M25, M11, A14, M6, M54 and numerous minor roads on the way there from south-east London, and the M6, A50, M1, A14, M11, M25 and other minor roads on the way back. A typical example of how the UK road network ...

Royal Mail Remuneration

I always thought that being a Chief Executive and being paid millions was a 24/7 job. I am amazed the Royal Mail could not recruit somebody from the millions of people who live in the UK. I am very angry that the details of Mr Back's £5.8million payout were buried in note 26 on page 144 of the company's annual report and not explained in the first paragraph of the Remuneration Committee Chair's statement. Hiding the pay of the new Chief ...

Gavin Darby dodges a bullet at Premier Foods AGM

At the Premier Foods AGM the CEO Gavin Darby survived the "decapitation" attempt with 59% of the votes for his re-election vs 41% against. But its clear that the activist Oasis is not going away any time soon and so the debate about accelerating the reduction of debt with a chosen divestment or two rumbles on. The board are making conciliatory noises and continue to talk to those who attempted the decapitation: "Over recent weeks we have had discussions with a substantial ...

Who Owns IQE? Nominees And Shareholder Rights. IQE Short update

IQE is one of the most shorted shares on the stock market, so it is quite important to know who owns the shares and who is short. However, individual shareholders' rights are lost via the nominee system. IQE reporting is an example. Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and Barclays own 6.5%, 4% and 4% respectively of IQE (i.e. 15% in total), according to Cannacord Genuity, who provide the data for the IQE annual report, which states: Substantial interests in shares As at 28 February ...

Premier Foods – it all comes down to strategy

Premier have now responded to the Oasis “decapitation” initiative with a posting on their website outlining the case for retention of the present CEO. Its worth a read through and you can find a copy here - http://www.premierfoods.co.uk/getattachment/investors/results-centre/Premier-Foods-Presentation-July-2018-(2).pdf.aspx Premier have taken each of the key areas mentioned by Oasis and outlined their own position on the matter. The pack summarises the past financial performance, the abandoned McCormick approach, the strategic review and Gavin Darby’s pay. And, to demonstrate that they DO have ...

Amati AIM VCT AGM and Retailers

Amati AIM VCT is one of those peculiar beasts – a Venture Capital Trust. Yesterday I attended their annual general meeting and here are some general comments on the company and the meeting: Amati AIM VCT (AMAT) is the result a merger of the two Amati VCTs. They had very similar portfolios so this made a lot of sense, and the result is a large VCT with total assets of £147 million. This figure was also boosted by excellent performance last year ...

The Battle for Petropavlovsk is over – for now….

So, the boardroom battle at Petropavlovsk finally reached a conclusion at today's AGM with the present board being ousted by the returning previous board. I note that the key votes were won by relatively small margins of a few percent and there was a very good turnout with c77% of all shares voted. So, is it a testament to true shareholder democracy or a disaster for the company's stability and future prospects with a rotating door at the top - what ...
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