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“Numbers don’t lie”: Lew

MyerBourkestreetRetail veteran and chairman of Premier Investments Solomon Lew has stepped up its attack on Myer, claiming shareholders have lost more than $2 billion in funds since the department store listed on the share market.

Lew – who heads up the parent company of Smiggle and Peter Alexander and is Myer’s largest shareholder – is leading a campaign to overhaul the department store retailer’s board.

Myer has said it has tried to have constructive dialogue with Lew and his company since May, but with no success.

It is also concerned that the appointment of Premier directors to its board would create a conflict of interest, given Premier is one of Myer’s biggest suppliers and competitors.

Myer chairman Paul McClintock yesterday said Premier’s statements had been “disappointing, but unsurprising”.

“We have attempted to engage in constructive dialogue with Premier for many months, but regrettably this has not been possible,” he said.

Premier replied on Wednesday with a press release that featured a graph comparing the share price performances of Premier and Myer.

Myer-Premier-shareholder-returnIt shows Myer shares were worth $4.10 when the company listed in October 2009, and have dropped 82 per cent to the 75 cents they were trading at on Tuesday.

In the same time, Premier shares have gained 62 per cent.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Premier’s statement said.

“More than $2 billion of Myer shareholders’ funds destroyed.

“Myer shareholders want change, not more of the same.”

“It’s time for Myer shareholders to be heard. We encourage long-suffering Myer shareholders to vote accordingly at the Myer AGM.”

In addition to former Qantas director Garry Hounsell stepping into the Myer chairman role at the upcoming AGM, when McClintock retires, Myer has announced the appointment of former managing director of Bulgari Julie Ann Morrison to its board.

Myer’s AGM will be held on November 24.

Updated: 11:20 AEST

Premier Investments has issued another statement ahead of Myer’s AGM, again calling for Myer to release its first quarterly sales and profit figures.

“Myer shareholders are being asked by their board to support the election of Mr Gary Hounsell at the AGM on November 24 in spite of the fact that he has committed to the current failed “New Myer” strategy, which he has claimed is showing evidence of green shoots for the company,” Premier said in a statement.

“Premier again calls on the Myer board, which claims to have strong corporate governance credentials, to provide evidence that new Myer is creating green shoots by releasing its Q1 2017/18 sales and profit figures at its strategy day on November 1 so that shareholders can make a fully-informed decision as to their vote at the AGM either in support of, or against, Mr Hounsell and two other nominees.”

The retail group added that shareholders “need to know if their incoming chairman has sound judgment and business acumen” before casting their vote.

“If Myer reports its sales and profit results after the AGM voting is completed, how can it be deemed to be a fair vote? This is a key corporate governance issue for the Myer board.”

More to come…

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