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CAPE TOWN – Grand Parade Investments (GPI) board has welcomed two new directors while retaining two of its long-standing directors. This was announced at a special general meeting (SGM) held on Wednesday night in Athlone, Cape Town.

This outcome follows an earlier meeting on October 31, which was adjourned after shareholders objected to the meeting proceeding on the basis that they did not have sufficient information to exercise their vote.

Also, non-executive directors at that meeting indicated that they were not furnished with reasons from the dissident fund managers for their proposed removal.

The two new appointees follow a protracted battle where a minority group of fund managers aimed to take over leadership of GPI, one of South Africa’s first truly broad-based black empowerment companies, through proposed resolutions that would have seen the GPI board re-constituted with four new non-executive directors, had the vote gone in favour of the fund managers.

According to GPI’s chief operating officer, Mohsin Tajbhai, the board is happy to welcome Mark Bowman, a former SABMiller executive and former Spur financial director, Ronel van Dijk, to the board of directors.

“We are confident that the new members will add tremendous value and drive the business forward, particularly in the role out of Burger King, which is one of our largest investments. 

“The outcome of the SGM has allowed us to retain the necessary skills and knowledge in Alex Abercrombie and Dr Norman Maharaj, who have instrumental in overseeing the company’s gaming assets. The outcome of the SGM is in my view, a true shared value outcome,” said Tajbhai.

Tajbhai said both appointees were initially earmarked for appointment when GPI tried to settle the dispute amicably shortly after the request for the SGM was received by the fund managers.

“We extended an olive branch to appoint two new members to our board as we believed they would bring the necessary skills to build on GPI’s long-term investment strategy of creating sustainable long-term shareholder value and unlocking the current massively under-realised value of GPI,” he said.

Tajbhai said the olive branch was refused as the fund managers gunned for all four spots on the board signalling hostile intent.

In 2014, GPI was trading at a record high of R7.50 per share, driven predominantly by the excitement that Burger King had to offer.