Shareholders advised to vote against Aryzta chief

Another twist in fight for control of Swiss--Irish food group

Shareholder advisory group Ethos has recommended Aryzta shareholders vote against the re-election of chairman Urs Jordi, who has only been in the job for two months.

Shareholder advisory group Ethos has recommended Aryzta shareholders vote against the re-election of chairman Urs Jordi, who has only been in the job for two months.

 

Shareholder advisory group Ethos has recommended Aryzta shareholders vote against the re-election of chairman Urs Jordi, who has only been in the job for two months.

The latest twist in the Aryzta saga comes as US hedge fund Elliott steps up its campaign to acquire the beleaguered Swiss-Irish food group, which has been struggling to turn itself around after a disastrous acquisition spree in the wake of the financial crash.

Mr Jordi was appointed chairman in September following a boardroom coup and became interim chief executive last month following the surprise exit of Kevin Toland.

In an advisory note to shareholders Ethos recommended shareholders vote down the re-election of Mr Jordi at the upcoming agm on December 15th.

The advisory group has previously refused to back candidates with dual mandates.

Ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (egm) in September, Ethos also spoke out against Mr Jordi in favour of Aryzta’s preferred candidate Andreas Schmid.

The egm in September saw candidates backed by Aryzta’s largest shareholders Cobas and Veraison, including Mr Jordi, parachuted on to the board and the exit of former chairman Gary McGann.

The fight for control of Aryzta intensified over the weekend after the hedge fund Elliott, run by US billionaire Paul Singer, tabled a fresh offer for the company that valued it at €734 million. The main shareholders are opposing the bid, which they say undervalues the group.

Earnings

Aryzta shareholder Lodbrok has written to the Aryzta board asking it not to make a recommendation regarding Elliott before the agm.

Aryzta has been struggling to halt a decline in earnings, particularly in the US, and negative investor sentiment towards its complex capital structure, both of which decimated shareholder value.

The previous management team had overseen almost €400 million of asset sales, reducing net debt, and pursuing a cost-cutting programme designed to deliver €200 million of savings in the three years to July 2021 .

US shareholder advisory group ISS is backing the re-election of Mr Jordi.