Aryzta shareholders back Gary McGann appointment

Adviser had recommended voting down appointment because of McGann’s workload

Gary McGann: The former Smurfit boss is up for the position of chairman of Aryzta food group.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Gary McGann: The former Smurfit boss is up for the position of chairman of Aryzta food group. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Shareholders in Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta have backed the appointment of Gary McGann as chairman, though close to one in five voted against.

Institutional Shareholder Services, a group which issues advice to investors, earlier this week recommended that shareholders vote down the appointment at the company’s annual general meeting in Zurich because of concerns over Mr McGann’s workload.

The former Smurfit Kappa chief executive is currently chairman of Paddy Power Betfair and a non-executive director at three other listed companies.

However, at the agm held on Tuesday, shareholders backed the appointment of Mr McGann with 80.50 per cent of votes for and 19.31 per cent against and a small number of abstensions.

Outgoing Aryzta chairman Denis Lucey had earlier in the week attempted to allay concerns over Mr McGann’s appointment by pointing out that he would have to relinquish one of his other roles under Aryzta’s articles of association.

Aryzta shareholders also voted on Tuesday for the appointment of Rolf Watter, chairman of the payment firm PostFinance, as a nonexecutive director.

New debt issuance

The company, meanwhile, has raised nearly €390 million through a new debt issuance.

The Schuldschein, a type of privately placed German debt similar to a bond, was issued in several tranches with maturities of three to seven years, according to a statement made to the stock exchange.

Proceeds will be used to refinance existing shorter-term indebtedness, Aryzta said. It noted that the offer was significantly oversubscribed and upsized to meet investor demand.

Slide in confidence

The bakery giant has struggled to halt a slide in investor confidence over the past year linked to the loss of contracts in the US, where it supplies McDonald’s and Subway with a range of parbaked products.

Amid the downturn in earnings, the company has withheld the performance-related bonus normally awarded to chief executive Owen Killian.

In its annual report, it said the bonus earned by Mr Killian had been withheld “pending the resumption of growth in underlying fully diluted earnings per share”.