Malaysian shareholders of UK’s Early Equity cry foul over alleged denial of voting rights


PETALING JAYA: A group of Malaysian shareholders of a company based in the United Kingdom are crying foul over what is alleged to be a deprivation of their voting rights in the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) tomorrow.

The 358 Malaysian shareholders, who hold 564.3 million shares or a 53.81% stake in London-based Early Equity PLC, a company listed on the Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE), claimed that none of them received the 2021 AGM circular that was posted on April 22, according to the company.

In a joint statement, the shareholders said they sent personal letters to seek confirmation and requested proof of posting but have yet to receive any response from the company.

Early Equity is said to have more than 1,000 shareholders who are Malaysian citizens and institutions, with a total shareholding of more than 63%.

Yicom Infinity Sdn Bhd was a substantial shareholder of the company, with a stake of 14.48%.

In an AGM update bourse filing that was made with the AQSE on May 12, Early Equity said each shareholder was sent a copy of the AGM circular together with a personalised unique proxy form, so as to protect the integrity of the outcome of the AGM.

This was done through a mailing house that arranged for the postage.

The company acknowledged that it was contacted by a number of shareholders stating that the hard copies of the documents had not yet arrived at their addresses and they requested that an electronic version of the proxy form be sent to them.

“Given the unique nature of each proxy form, the company could not provide a blank version to those shareholders so having taken legal advice the directors sent personalised electronic proxy forms to those shareholders and agreed that these could be returned electronically to the company’s registrar subject to each shareholder giving their consent to electronic communication.

“Subsequently, the company has received a large number of similar requests from shareholders, currently numbering over 450,” it said, adding that most requests took the form of an identical letter and the vast majority were sent from one of a small number of email addresses.

With the limited amount of time remaining until the AGM, Early Equity claimed it was unable to verify that the requests were valid.

In ensuring that there was no suggestion and attempted manipulation of the outcome of the resolutions proposed at the AGM, the company said it will not accept any proxy forms by email and the original hard copy forms must be completed, signed and returned to Share Registrars Ltd no later than 4pm (UK time) on May 18.

The group of 358 shareholders alleged that the incumbent directors of the company had taken unfair advantage of various obstacles posted by the pandemic, the backlog and delays of postal services and the great challenge for the Malaysian bandwidth to support a Zoom meeting capacity to admit and handle a thousand or more attendees simultaneously.

The shareholders further alleged that this may be due to three resolutions tabled at the AGM for the removal of the current three directors.

According to the final AGM circular dated April 21, the six of the eight resolutions were to remove Gregory Collier, Tracy Jane Davy and Jonathan Ian Symonds as directors of the company, being the entire current board of directors and replace them with Sin Hock Min, Muhammad Zariqh Alfian Mohamad Hanafiah and Fauziah Hanim Mohd Aziz.

Malaysian directors Edwin Chua and Barry Tee had earlier resigned on Feb 3 while Symonds was appointed on March 30.

On Tuesday Early Equity announced its acquisition of the entire stake of Farina Investments (UK) Ltd for £1.9M (RM11.14mil), funded by the issue of 380 million new ordinary shares of Early Equity.

Davy is also a director of Farina. Farina holds 146,062 shares in Lotto Studios Ltd, of which Symonds is a director.

According to Early Equity’s March 30 filing, it holds a 2.96% stake in Lotto Studios.

The group now holds about 20% of Lotto Studios after the acquisition of Farina.

The latest acquisition funded via share issuance, a subscription of 18 million new shares and the settlement for the issuance expenses with 900,000 new shares increases Early Equity’s share capital to 1.45 billion shares.

An application will be made for them to be admitted to trading on AQSE, which is expected to be on or around May 23.

Source link