29.01.16 | Comment?

1,   Accounts         –   Approved    99%
2,   Frankham       –   Re-elected   76%
3,   Smith             –   Re-elected   89%
4,   Granvil           –   Re-elected   73%
5,   Jones             –   Re-elected   90%
6,   Rose               –   Re-elected   99%
7,   Auditors          -   Approved     83%
8,         “                 –   Approved    82%
9,   Share sales     –   Approved    88%
10,          “              -   Approved    88%
11,   8 Directors     –   Rejected     67%


Todays CPO AGM was significant in several ways.

In the absence of the contentious previous chairman Frankham, and under the governance of Charles Rose, the meeting was far more business like with an added air of realism from the board, although not without controversy. The main surprise being the subsequent failure of one of the resolutions – to allow an increase from 5 to 8 directors, which whilst being a very strange (even) number for a board anyway, would also be a large increase and very quickly. The potential motives for this resolution obviously worried many shareholders at this sensitive time in CPO’s history, given it may well be subject to another offer from CFC this year. The status quo therefore maintained, the vote being just 67% in favour, when 75% is required for a special resolution such as this.

However, it is also notable that the concert party of the same old 2,000 odd votes still seem to be collectively active. Several members supported SNCPO moves to identify the concert party via their historical voting patterns, but this was disappointingly rejected by the new chair – as did the last. The boards stated preference being to simply dilute their effectiveness over time by the sale of new shares.

A further controversy surfaced when a renowned major shareholder claimed that a 13% stake in CFC was being touted around the far east, in the same way Manchester City successfully did recently. Time will tell – but then that club don’t own their Freehold either !

What was clear was that all present were reasonably expectant of another move for the freehold assuming planning consent, despite there being no justification for it, and flying in the face of all reason, and indeed stated government policy ! However, what was pleasing was a majority of the boards strong assertion that it too was not in favour of dissolution – in stark contrast to previous years, when the chairman himself regularly refused to rule out voting to sell out again, as he had personally in 2011.

Other points to note was the slip in confidence for directors Granvil and Frankham even taking into account support from the concert party, particularly in comparison to the remarkably high vote to re-elect the new chair – an obvious reflection on their respective history’s at CPO. This further compounded by Granvil’s questionable assurances about his latest claims for his CV within the accounts booklet.

Again, time will tell…


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