12/11/2012 - 15:46

TFS boardroom battle approaching climax

12/11/2012 - 15:46

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Boardroom ructions at agribusiness investment manager TFS Corporation are coming to a head, after two former directors requisitioned a meeting calling for the removal of executive chairman Frank Wilson and three fellow directors.

The requisition comes one month after former federal government minister Richard Alston resigned as chairman of the company; his exit was the latest in a string of board changes over the past year.

It also comes ahead of the company’s annual meeting on Friday of this week.

The notice has been submitted by Blake Myles, who resigned as a director in July last year.

It proposes four new directors: Mr Myles, along with Timothy Croot, who retired as a director in July this year, former ERG chairman Colin Henson and Peter Christie.

They intend to move resolutions calling for the removal or Mr Wilson, Julius Matthys (a senior BHP Billiton executive who joined the TFS board last year), Stephen Atkinson (a company founder who returned to the board in July after a six-year break) and cricketer Adam Gilchrist (who joined the board in July last year).

The company said it was reviewing the validity of the notice and will make a further announcement once the review is completed.

The battle for control of the company follows the appointment in September of global investment bank Moelis & Co to assist in a wide-ranging strategic review into the company’s operations, capital management and other corporate options to improve shareholder returns.

TFS is one of the few survivors in the agribusiness managed investment scheme sector, helped by moves to diversify its funding to institutional and wholesale investors.

The company reported an improved net profit of $25.9 million last financial year but did not pay a dividend because of the delayed receipt of proceeds from certain wholesale plantation investments and a more conservative accounting policy.

Mr Wilson is the company's largest shareholder wth a 16.2 per cent stake. He recently acquired 400,000 shares on market at 39.01 cents, lifting his stake to 45.3 million shaes.

 

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