Karelian shareholders to vote on proposal to sack chairman
Rebel group wants to oust Richard Conroy and four board colleagues
Under pressure: Rebel investors in the company want to oust Prof Conroy, above, his daughter Sorca Conroy, Séamus FitzPatrick, Maureen Jones and Louis J Maguire from the Karelian board and replace them with their own nominees. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Rebel investors in the Irish company, which owns a diamond discovery in Lahtojoki, Finland, among other prospects, want to oust Prof Conroy, his daughter Sorca Conroy, Séamus FitzPatrick, Maureen Jones and Louis J Maguire from the board and replace them with their own nominees.
Karelian said on Thursday it would hold an extraordinary general meeting in Dublin on Friday July 26th to allow shareholders to vote on the proposals, but advised investors to reject them as they are not in the company’s best interest.
The four, who own 17 per cent of the company, say that after 14 years of zero returns, Karelian’s backers face serious losses.
“It’s very clear there has been little to no progress to benefit shareholders – large amounts of money raised for development have instead gone on directors salaries,” they say.
Prof Conroy recently rejected this, saying that the directors put €2 million into Karelian. A company statement says board members have invested €1 million more in the business than they have taken in fees.
Karelian’s statement pleads with shareholders to support the directors. “They have brought the company to this stage successfully and will now endeavour to bring about the development of a mine and a profitable company with a corresponding share price that will reflect that the board believes to be the true value of your company,” it says.
Prof Conroy’s opponents claim that Karelian’s share price – 7.5 pence sterling on London’s Alternative Investment Market before trading closed on Thursday – undervalues the company.
The board agrees that the price under values Karelian but argues that continued work on Lahtojoki and its other Finnish other prospects, such as Seitapera, should boost its stock.