16 Feb 2024

PGG Wrightson boardroom struggle ramps up

5:50 pm on 16 February 2024
PGG Wrightson's Culverden Store

PGG Wrightson said it was in the company's best interests to have a New Zealand resident chairperson. Photo: Supplied

The boardroom struggle in rural services company PGG Wrightson has ramped up.

On Tuesday, the company's Singapore based major shareholder, Agria, demanded a special meeting of the company to dump three local directors and replace them with four of their own, including a former board member banned by US authorities.

But the New Zealand based directors have countered by replacing the overseas based Agria nominated chair, U Kean Seng, with local independent director, Garry Moore, and set up a special committee to vet candidates for the board.

The company said given its half year earnings would be reported next week the board thought it was in the company's best interests "to have a New Zealand resident Chair to work closely with the senior management team to continue to drive the business forward".

"In order to ensure full transparency, the PGW Board has also determined that all current and nominated directors should provide full disclosure to the Nominations Committee of their credentials ahead of the Special Shareholders Meeting.

"The board has determined that in the present circumstances, it is appropriate that all shareholders have sufficient information to make an informed decision with respect to voting on the resolutions to be put to the meeting."

Agria, a 44 percent shareholder, has nominated Alan Lai, banned for five years for market manipulation by US authorities, for the board.

Lai was forced out of PGW following High Court action by overseas investment regulators for breaches of good character rules required of foreign investors.

PGW's board says its offer to talk to Agria over boardroom changes if it withdraws the meeting demand is still open.

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