9 Jun 2014

FMA steps into Abano dispute

2:42 pm on 9 June 2014

Chairperson of the Shareholders' Association John Hawkins has said there is no connection or relationship between himself and the chairman of Abano Healthcare, Trevor Janes.

Mr Hawkins said attempts by Abano's dissident shareholders, Peter Hutson and James Reeves, to imply he has a conflict of interest because of such a relationship are baseless.

Mr Hutson and Mr Reeves have requisitioned a special meeting of Abano shareholders to vote on removing Mr Janes.

The meeting is set to be held on Friday, unless Mr Hutson and Mr Reeves succeed in their High Court action to delay the meeting.

The Shareholders' Association has come out firmly against removing Mr Janes and has said a number of the claims made by the pair are directly contradicted by documentary evidence.

Mr Hutson and Mr Reeves' response was to issue a statement saying that Mr Hawkins was personally conflicted because of his relationship with Mr Janes.

Mr Hawkins says he first met Mr Janes in 2009 when he was considering investing in a litigation fund Mr Janes was establishing and that his only contact since then has been in his capacity as chairman of the Shareholders Association.

Mr Hawkins says Messrs Hutson and Reeves' accusation was an attempt to draw attention away from the inconvenient truths the association had raised.

He says another independent organisation, the institutional proxy advisory firm, ISS, has since concluded that Mr Janes removal is not warranted.

The FMA meanwhile says it has no active inquiries underway regarding either Abano or its current directors and no legal sanctions have been applied by the FMA to either the company or its current directors.