Rebel shareholders fail to delay Abano meeting

The High Court has rejected a bid by Abano shareholders [NZX: ABA] James Reeves and Peter Hutson to delay a special meeting for shareholders to vote on the chairmanship of Trevor Janes.

The two shareholders, whose interests hold 18.6% of Abano shares between them, sought a delay to the meeting they called on the basis that they didn’t think shareholders had enough time to consider their resolution to unseat Mr Janes.

The vote will be held at a meeting in Auckland this Friday after Abano gave notice of the meeting 13 working days ago. That is within the ten working days required by law.

In a statement messrs Reeves and Hutson says they are disappointed but not surprised by the court decision.

“We have viewed the special meeting process as fundamentally flawed from the start. We await the Judge’s written reasoning.”

They indicated calling a second special meeting should they fail on Friday.

Some key institutions are backing Mr Janes, while the Shareholders Association is recommending retail shareholders vote against the resolution and will direct proxies in this manner.

“We are not going away,” Hutson and Reeves said in their statement.

Abano welcomed the decision by Justice Susan Thomas.

The company also noted that NZX Regulation had completed its investigations and not identified any breach of listing rules by Abano.

NZX fielded a complaint about Abano's 2012 annual meeting in relation to a rule requiring at least one-third of the directors to retire at each annual meeting. The complaint also related to a report by Grant Samuel released to the market by Abano before the 2013 annual meeting.

“All regulatory complaints by Mr Hutson and Mr Reeves have therefore been dismissed,” Abano said.