Stunning Aliquot about-face

A BITTER battle for board representation at listed property group Aliquot Asset Management took an unexpected turn this week with two of the opposing camps reaching an uneasy truce and agreeing to share equal numbers of board positions.

The control-sharing arrangement was reached just moments before the start of an extraordinary general meeting called by the second largest shareholder Equitilink eLink to remove the incumbent board.

The last-minute deal between the two opposing factions found a compromise, with Equitilink chairman Paul Crowther and fellow directors Andrew Brown and Bruce Burrell taking seats along-side existing Aliquot board directors, Michael Perrott, Peter Huston and Antony Rigoll.

Mr Crowther said the decision to work with the existing board was made after it became apparent that they had failed to get the numbers to affect a board spill, a result

he blamed on the Australian Shareholders Association that had withheld its support for the Equitilink bid, despite endorsing the removal of existing board members.

“We were not in a winning position, we would have been slaughtered,” Mr Crowther said.

“Without the support of the ASA we could not have won. We were forced into this position.”

Mr Crowther said a compromise was reached in the end because it was better to have three members on a board than have none at all.

In addition, Mr Crowther said he had received an undertaking from the existing board that a complete review of the company’s operations would be carried out.

ASA WA treasurer Gerry Pauley said the whole matter was “a disgrace” and he was considering taking his concerns to the Takeovers Panel.

“We believe control has passed from the largest shareholder to the two largest shareholders in a secret deal, that was not disclosed to shareholders,” Mr Pauley said.

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