PRESS RELEASE 02 (25/02/2011)
Shareholders in Acuity Growth VCT, with the support of ShareSoc, are calling for substantial changes to the board of the company. The final results for the financial year ending September 2010 were published on the 31st January 2011. These showed a 33% reduction in NAV and yet again, no dividend payment. This follows a similar dire performance in the previous year.
The Directors of the company are now actively seeking a new investment manager. However this action is long overdue as the company has consistently under performed other Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). Acuity Growth was one of the worst performing generalist VCTs launched between tax years 2001-02 and 2004-05 inclusive, with a Total Return (Net Asset Value plus dividends) of 55.5p for every 100p originally invested by Acuity VCT shareholders and 63.6p for every 100p originally invested by Acuity VCT2 shareholders. Source: Allenbridge Tax Shelter Report – see www.taxshelterreport.co.uk/vct_performance.htm
Shareholders suggest that the directors should have been more vigorous in taking action on the problems faced by the company as the difficulties have been apparent for some considerable time. Furthermore, at the time of the merger, the directors decided to double their fees. For example, the Chairman’s fee was raised from £20k/year to £40k per annum (which is way above the norm for VCTs). This detail was buried on page 17 of the merger document (which many shareholders will not have noticed). Although it is now proposed to reduce the directors’ fees to a more reasonable level, after some publicity on this matter, shareholders are unhappy with this sequence of events. The directors also own relatively few shares in the company. According to the Annual Report they own an aggregate of only 117,595 shares (excluding the outgoing investment manager) and two of the directors own no shares whatsoever. The director’s interests are therefore not properly aligned to those of shareholders.
ShareSoc therefore recommends that shareholders should vote against the re-election of the chairman, Rupert Pennant-Rea (resolution 3) and against the remuneration report (resolution 2) at the forthcoming AGM to be held on March 10th.
Chairman Roger Lawson of ShareSoc had this to say: “the failure of the Acuity board’s performance is clear – private shareholders must stand together for fair treatment and ensure responsible action by board directors”.
The Acuity Growth VCT was formed in 2010 following the merger of Acuity VCT and Acuity VCT2 (previously known as Electra Kingsway VCT and VCT2). Acuity VCT and Acuity VCT 2 had a common board of directors who now comprise the board of Acuity Growth. The investment manager for the company is Acuity Capital.
The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 10th March commencing at 9.00 am (not a time likely to encourage shareholders to attend unfortunately). Location is the offices of Osborn Clarke, 1 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5BD.
For further information, please contact:
Roger W. Lawson,
ShareSoc Telephone: 020-8467-2686
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About the UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc)
ShareSoc represents and supports individual investors who invest in the UK stock markets (and who own as much as 30% of the shares in UK public companies in aggregate). We are a mutual association controlled by our members with “not-for-profit” articles and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. The organisation is financed by member subscriptions, donations from supporters and by the services it provides to members. Associate Membership of ShareSoc is free and is open to everyone with an interest in stock market investment. More information on ShareSoc can be obtained from our web site at www.sharesoc.org .