Abano sets Black Friday for special meeting, Hutson seeks public debate with Janes

Trevor Janes
Abano Healthcare 12-month price history (NZX.com)

Abano Healthcare [NZX: ABA] shareholders will vote on whether to dump chairman Trevor Janes on Black Friday next month after the medical investor set the date for a special meeting called by a pair of disgruntled shareholders who own almost a fifth of the company.

Investors will vote on whether to remove Janes from Abano's board with immediate effect on June 13 in Auckland, according to the notice of annual meeting released today. Janes abstained from endorsing the directors' recommendation to shareholders urging them to vote against the resolution. The meeting was called by Peter Hutson and James Reeves as they seek a boardroom shake-up since their involvement in an aborted takeover attempt last year.

"Hutson and Reeves' continuing and destructive actions risk destabilising the company, devaluing your investment and eroding shareholder value," the directors said in a letter to shareholders. "It is our duty to protect the interests of all our shareholders and the value of your investment."

Hutson, who owns the other 50 percent of Abano’s Bay International audiology business and would have gained full control for a nominal sum under last year’s aborted takeover, was removed from the board last September. Last week the Employment Relations Authority upheld Abano’s right to sack Peter Hutson and his wife Anya from their positions at Bay as chief executive and human resources director.

Separately, Hutson and Reeves are seeking a public debate between Hutson and Janes in the lead-up to the vote, putting forward their respective cases in front of shareholders in two sessions, one in Auckland and one in Wellington.

Mr Reeves said “We invite Trevor Janes to join Peter Hutson in a live, two session debate one-on-one before a live audience. We extend a warm welcome to NZSA members and to members of the public.”

“It will be a rare opportunity for shareholders to witness two very different views of the business world, Trevor Janes, Deputy Chair of the ACC and Peter Hutson, clinician and entrepreneur” Mr Reeves added.

Abano shares fell 0.4 percent to $7 and have gained 10 percent this year.

With reporting from BusinessDesk

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