12 Jun 2014

Plans for second Abano meeting

7:57 am on 12 June 2014

Abano Healthcare's self-described activist shareholders are proposing to requisition a second special shareholders' meeting - despite the first not yet being held.

Abano Healthcare chairman Trevor Janes.

Abano Healthcare chairman Trevor Janes. Photo: Abano Healthcare

That is despite their wish to remove chairman Trevor Janes appearing to have little support from Abano's institutional investors and independent observers.

The shareholders, Peter Hutson and James Reeves, who own 18.5 percent of Abano, on Wednesday lost their high court attempt to delay the special meeting they requisitioned, which has been set for Friday.

Fisher Funds Management, which owns more than 9 percent of Abano, said in its latest newsletter it had been an Abano shareholder since 2008 and had enjoyed a 65 percent return on its investment.

Fisher said its strong preference was to remain an Abano shareholder because it believed the company would provide further shareholder value, and that it saw no reason to remove the chairman.

One of the leading retail broking firms, Forsyth Barr, has also come out against the removal of Mr Janes.

Forsyth Barr managing director Neil Paviour-Smith said his firm was following the advice of its analyst, John Cairns.

"Our analyst believes that the governance of the company is fine and is contributing to growth in value, that Abano has performed well over time and also can't see any logical rationale in removing the chairman from the board," Mr Paviour-Smith said.

"His recommendation, which we've gone out to clients with, is to vote against the resolution."

Mr Paviour-Smith said he was surprised Mr Hutson and Mr Reeves had said they planned to call a second meeting before the first was even held, and questioned whether it was an early admission of defeat.

"At the very least one might expect fellow shareholders in the company to be respected and their views heard by awaiting the outcome of Friday's vote and then deciding what to do next," he said.

"If the margin against is very significant, then they might want to reconsider the merits of putting the company through the cost and expense of another meeting."

However, if it was close then as shareholders they were within their rights to do something.

Fund manager Harbour Asset Management, which also supported Mr Janes remaining, said it hoped Friday's vote would settle the matter.