Neo Khanyile

The JSE may investigate a dispute between Accéntuate management and shareholders who were prevented from voting against executive bonuses at the annual general meeting of the AltX-listed flooring company.

A group of three investors, who together hold about 25 percent of Accéntuate’s stock, had taken legal action against the company after attempts to oppose resolutions including director pay were thwarted when their votes were declared invalid, Adolf Potgieter, one of the shareholders and a former head of Coronation Capital, said.

Accéntuate executive director Donald Platt received a bonus of R654 000 in the year to June last year, about a third of his basic pay of R1.98 million, according to the company’s annual report. Chief executive Fred Platt was paid R200 000 on top of a basic salary of R2.17m. He said the votes were deemed “faulty” by independent lawyers.

“The JSE is aware of the court proceedings,” the bourse’s issuer regulation division said. “The JSE will consider investigating this matter once the court proceedings are finalised.”

The shareholders have filed an application in the South Gauteng High Court.

Potgieter’s shareholder group also wanted to vote against remuneration for non-executive directors, which needs 75 percent of investor support to be approved. They also attempted to block the right for managers to issue shares for cash or to make acquisitions. These special resolutions have been put on hold pending the court case.

Potgieter and former managers at Coronation Capital, Cron von Seidel and Mike Patchitt, have been trying to get a seat on Accéntuate’s board to gain more influence over management, whom they accuse of overspending on executive salaries and expenses. They also objected to the sale of Centurion Glass & Aluminium for R10m in 2011 after the unit was bought for about R75m four years earlier.

Accentuate chief financial officer Chris Povall said: “It’s absolute rubbish. This thing has been investigated internally, externally, and there’s absolutely zero substance.”

Potgieter’s group had voted against special resolutions at the previous three annual general meetings, Fred Platt said. Their votes had been referred for independent legal opinion at the request of other investors, he added.

Momentum Asset Management, which owns a 4 percent stake in Accéntuate, declined to comment on the dispute.

Accéntuate shares closed unchanged at 58c on AltX yesterday, valuing the company at R72m. – Bloomberg