Abano shareholders call meeting to challenge board

Abano is an investor in the healthcare industry  file pic/Thinkstock
Abano is an investor in the healthcare industry file pic/Thinkstock

Abano Healthcare shareholders Peter Hutson and James Reeves invoked their rights under the Companies Act to call for an extraordinary general meeting next Monday to consider a resolution to dump Trevor Janes as chairman and freshen the rest of the board.

The meeting would be preliminary to agree to an actual vote at another EGM on May 30 on whether to remove Janes as a director, giving Hutson's investment vehicle Healthcare Industry time to put its case in a statement to shareholders.

The two investors say Abano's dental clinics are underperforming, providing an investment return of 3-4 per cent a year since 2010 - less than banks are offering on deposit - and with more risk.

"Abano requires injection of fresh leadership talent proven in a commercial setting and rich in operational experience," Hutson and Reeves say in an emailed letter to the board. "This starts with the chairmanship of Abano followed by an orderly transition to a skills-based Abano board in line with the needs of the business."

Both Abano and the hostile shareholders have furnished valuations to support their offers and counter-offers. And they have exchanged pointed jabs through a thwarted takeover attempt when they teamed up with Archer Capital. That continued today with Hutson and Reeves signing off their letter by saying they expect Janes will be transparent about his career history including directorship of failed finance company Capital + Merchant.

Healthcare Industry, Reeves's Steamboat Capital and Archer were rebuffed in an attempted takeover of the company and in turn rejected a $12.9 million cash offer from Abano to buy out the 50 per cent of Bay International that Hutson owns.

Abano shares fell 0.5 per cent to $6.50 today, and have gained 2.5 per cent this year.

- BusinessDesk

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