Johannesburg - Eddie de Villiers, a director of K2012, which holds 31 percent of AltX-listed Ububele, is looking forward to engaging with the Ububele board about the agricultural service provider’s future and ensuring it has the necessary resources to stabilise and grow its customer base.
De Villiers was speaking after yesterday’s tense general meeting of shareholders at which two executive directors were removed from the board and three new directors voted on.
Off the board are chief operating officer Thys Mocke, a founding member of Ububele who had been on the board since 2002, and June Matlala, its director of social development.
Ahead of the meeting, Ububele announced that two independent non-executive directors, Michelle Krastanov and Trevor Hayter, had resigned with immediate effect.
New non-executive directors are Theo Kleinhans, a previous Ububele employee; Colin Hall, a former Wooltru head; and K2012 employee Charles Rickens.
The new board appointed JD Newton as an independent non-executive director.
It is unclear whether chief executive Bertie Cloete will stay on. He had said, ahead of the meeting, that he would quit if the four directors were axed.
De Villiers said Cloete’s position had not yet been discussed. “He did tender his resignation; if he does leave there will be a handover period, but that will all be part of the new board’s mandate.”
The new board will also have to consider Mocke’s position as chief operating officer. De Villiers said Mocke had frustrated K2012’s efforts to conduct discussions with the board.
Krastanov said she hoped the new board would ensure that Mocke remained an executive. She described him as a “good director and an effective operator” and said he had relationships with the network of agents who were critical to Ububele’s growth.
Krastanov said she was disappointed with the outcome of the meeting but hoped the new board could be persuaded of the attractions of a deal with African Agricultural Fund (AAF) that had been proposed in May.
The AAF deal would have resulted in an injection of R70 million into Ububele in exchange for AAF taking a 40 percent stake.
That board proposal provoked a dramatic response from K2012, which had a 14 percent stake in Ububele at the time. K2012 filed an application in the high court to prevent Ububele from issuing shares to AAF without the approval of the Takeover Regulation Panel and shareholders. K2012 also requested a meeting of Ububele shareholders for the purpose of voting off the four directors and replacing them with the three directors nominated by K2012.
In a circular to shareholders, Ububele’s board recommended that the four not be removed and that only Hall be voted on. Of the shareholders at the meeting, 63 percent voted in line with K2012’s proposals.
De Villiers, who does not rule out a tie-up with AAF, said the changes were necessary because the board had refused to engage with K2012 about proposals for Ububele’s future.
This charge was challenged by Krastanov who countered that the board had made efforts to meet with K2012 to discuss Ububele’s future but was unsuccessful on each occasion.
The shares fell 4c to close at 40c in very thin trade. - Business Report