Teesside Gazette, 5 Feb 2020, Sirius top shareholder urges mining firm to ‘pursue other options’

TeessideLive reports that Jupiter Asset Management is seeking an alternative to current proposals.


ShareSoc Director and ShareSoc Sirius Shareholder Group (SSSG) Co-ordinator, Chris Spencer-Phillips is quoted extensively:

In a letter to Sharesoc, a not-for-profit organisation representing shareholders’ interests, Sirius said there was a “very real risk” that the funding package would not be secured by the end of March 2020.

It had therefore concluded there was “not likely to be an alternative to the Anglo offer” other than liquidation.

Chris Spencer-Phillips, from ShareSoc, was speaking with both Sirius Minerals and Anglo American over the next day or so to feed information back to shareholders.

He said: “We now have over 750 Sirius shareholders registered and more joining every day; it is fair to say that there are a lot of very concerned investors…

See our latest update, which documents the outcome of the meeting that was indeed held on 5th February between the SSSG and key members of Sirius’s board.

I must point out one important error in the article, which states:

It must be approved by 75% of shareholders as part of the vote, which will be held within the next two weeks.

The correct criteria for approving a scheme of arrangement are stated here: https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/0-107-7201?__lrTS=20171027070937249&transitionType=Default&contextData=%28sc.Default%29

A scheme requires approval by at least 75% in value of each class of the members or creditors who vote on the scheme, being also at least a majority in number of each class.

I.e. 75% of SHARES must be voted in favour AND a simple majority of SHAREHOLDERS must also be in favour. This highlights a very problematic area of law, which ShareSoc’s Shareholder Rights Campaign seeks to address. Our understanding is that a single nominee (e.g. Hargreaves Lansdown) counts as only ONE shareholder, irrespective of the fact that the shares they hold are for the benefit of thousands of individual clients. ShareSoc argues that it shouldn’t matter how shares are held: each “ultimate shareholder” should count as one shareholder for the purposes of this and similar laws. We are working with the Law Commission to address this fatal legislative flaw.