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Wyre Forest MP warns Victoria shareholders over boardroom battle
WYRE Forest’s MP has warned Victoria Carpets’ shareholders the long-term future of the company could be “uncertain” if the current directors lose the firm’s boardroom battle.
Conservative Mark Garnier issued the warning ahead of an emergency meeting, to be held on Wednesday, October 3, when former non-executive directors Alexander Anton and Geoff Wilding are hoping to be re-elected to the Worcester Road-based company’s board.
Group managing director Alan Bullock, voted off the board at last month’s annual meeting, has threatened to quit Victoria if the pair are voted in for a second time this year.
The current board claim that if re-elected, Mr Anton and Mr Wilding would set up an incentive scheme which, to implement, could see the company broken up and parts, including Kidderminster, sold off.
Mr Anton has denied that suggestion and said any new incentive scheme proposed would be explained and put to a shareholder vote and his plans to grow profit would secure jobs.
Mr Garnier said Mr Anton, Mr Wilding and Andrew Harrison, supported by shareholder New Fortress Finance, were looking for “opportunities for a fast buck”.
“At stake is a company whose stock market valuation represents around half the true value of the company, with a powerful group of shareholders seeking to pull off a deal which may well end up with significant value sucked out,” he said.
“If other shareholders get together, they will stop the corporate manoeuvres and protect the value of the business. If not, the raiders win the day and the long-term future of the company is uncertain.”
Both sides have issued letters to shareholders urging people to vote for them.
Victoria chairman Katherine Innes-Ker said: “This meeting has one question at its heart, whether shareholders should be content to provide extraordinary rewards to certain directors in the event capital is returned to shareholders, whether or not they do anything significant to create any additional value.”
Mr Anton said he would grow the company because profits were “too low” and it had “underperformed for years”.
“In the last four years Victoria Carpets’ UK business has made a profit of just £300,000 on sales of £114 million,” he told shareholders.