Laggard Angus Energy to have closed GM – this underperformer misuses Covid rules

by Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director

I do not own shares in Angus, but follow what is happening having received various emails, with concerns about over-optimism in previous RNSs, from shareholders. Their Brockham oil well is about 5 miles from where I live, so that makes it interesting too.

Angus have announced a closed GM via RNS today, which states…

As a result of the current COVID-19 crisis and the UK Government’s restrictions, and in accordance with the provisions of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (as amended), the Company’s GM will be run as a closed meeting, electronically. Shareholders are therefore not able to attend the meeting in person and instead are strongly encouraged to submit their proxy vote, appointing the Chairman of the meeting as their proxy, to ensure that their votes are registered.

Shareholders should not appoint any other person as their proxy, as that person will not be able to attend the meeting in order to be able to cast the shareholder’s vote.

The business at the Company’s GM will be restricted to formal business only. The format of the GM will be simply to propose and vote (on a poll, with votes cast by proxy) on the resolutions set out in the notice. Although shareholders will not be able to attend the GM in person, shareholder participation is crucial [my bolding, not theirs!].

This is a misuse of Covid rules. Why has Angus not organised a shareholder webinar to update shareholders on developments and explain why the GM is necessary? The share price has declined from 36p in Sept 2017 to 0.7p now, with various fund raisings along the way. Perhaps the directors are afraid of their shareholders and don’t want to have to face them – not even behind a Zoom screen?

I went to a meeting yesterday about the future of AGMs and GMs. There were about 15 of us from various organisations pontificating on what works well and what does not and what should be done. I shall be feeding into the next meeting the Angus example.

The Angus directors need to read the latest FRC report see and follow its best practice guidance. It is a real slap in the face to read the RNS saying that “shareholder participation is crucial” when they do nothing to facilitate it!

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