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Lew ‘requests’ Myer release financial position well ahead of AGM

(Source: Bigstock.)

Ahead of Myer’s upcoming annual general meeting, Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments has called on the department store to disclose its preliminary full-year results early to “allow an appropriate window” for shareholders to decide its board’s fate.

Myer typically releases its full-year results in early September, and announces its AGM in late September, which takes place in late October.

According to Premier this is not enough time for prospective independent executive directors, which Premier is in discussions with to form a renewed Myer board, to decide whether they would want to take up a position on the business’ board based on its financial position.

The alternative, according to Lew, is for Premier (now Myer’s largest shareholders) to call an “unnecessary, distracting and expensive EGM” close to the AGM to attempt a board spill.

“The Myer board have stated that they are committed to working constructively with Premier as its largest shareholder, and our proposal is a constructive and pragmatic way of resolving the new Myer board which is demonstrably in the best interests of all shareholders,” Lew said.

“Given the level of uncertainty [in the market] and the large loss incurred last year by Myer (a net loss after tax of $172 million), Premier is requesting that Myer immediately update the market on its expected FY21 results.”

Myer’s half year results, however, did see the business recover slightly – with a net profit after tax of $42.9 million, up 8.4 per cent.

The new board Premier envisions would include a majority of independent directors, including an independent Chairman, and would include two Premier nominees.

Myer has so far resisted Lew’s calls for the board to resign, and said instead it would hope to work with Premier in continuing its work on chief executive John King’s continuing ‘customer first’ plan.

A Myer spokesperson said that while it had consistently worked with Premier, Premier has so far declined to give any transparency around who they are seeking to nominate for its board.

“Myer has repeatedly requested that Premier Investments provide the names and background information in relation to each person Premier proposes to nominate to the Myer board as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.

“The Myer Board remains open to constructive dialogue regarding the Director nomination process and existing timelines but only in the context of full transparency of Premier’s nominees in the near term, allowing consideration within the principles previously outlined and consultation with other large shareholders.”

The spokesperson did note that the “threatened” route of an EGM will not be in the best interest of shareholders, and said the AGM is a more appropriate forum for such discussions.

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