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GSK ownership tussle: Court-ordered meeting deadlocked

By JONAH NWOKPOKU

The court-ordered Extra Ordinary General Meeting, EGM, between GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc and its Nigerian shareholders over proposed scheme for the reorganisation of capital ended in a stalemate.

The shareholders rejected the proposal during the court-ordered meeting between the two parties held in Lagos as they called for complete abandonment of the scheme, noting that it was inspired by greed and aimed at ripping them off their investments.

“The market in Europe is crumbling and African market is where the opportunities are. They have seen that the future of African market is very bright. That is the reason for this hostile attempt for indirect ownership increase. This proposal is a pure attempt to deprive us of what is our right but I must say that no Nigerian must be forced to part with his share,” a shareholder, Nonah Awoh said.

Adebayo Adeleke, the Secretary General of Independent Shareholders Associations, while condemning the proposal called on the company’s management to strive to follow due process and allow the law to take its course in their bid and to reach a common ground with their shareholders.

Other shareholders who spoke, Peter Okoh, A. D Vincent and Moses Ibru all condemned the proposal and called on the Board of Directors to defend their interests in the company and their investments.

But the Chairman, Board of Directors, Olusegun Osunkeye, GSK Nigeria Plc, maintained that the proposal was in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. “Let me say that this process is all about share consolidation and not share construction as some of you fear,” he told the shareholders.

He said the proposal when executed would enable the company begin to pay share bonuses, which it had not been able to pay in the past as result of large share capital.

In a document for the proposed scheme of arrangement for the reorganisation of capital between Glaxosmithkline Consumer Nigeria Plc and the holders of its fully paid ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, the chairman explained that, “The proposed scheme will facilitate significant investment by GSK Plc in GSK Nigeria. The board, he said, “believes that this proposed increase in GSK Plc shareholding should create considerable benefits and opportunities for shareholders, customers, staff and other stakeholders of the company.

These benefits, he said, included: “enabling GSK Plc to provide the support required for GSK Nigeria expansion and capital improvement plans, development of GSK Nigeria’s product portfolio and reinforcement of GSK’s long term commitment to GSK Nigeria as one of the leading companies in Nigeria. The proposal would also lead to smaller and more manageable share capital base and improvement of investment ratios.”


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