Watchstone Group plc
(“Watchstone” or the “Company” or the “Group”)
Result of AGM and AGM statement
Watchstone (LON:WTG) announces that all resolutions at its Annual General Meeting, held earlier today, were duly passed.
Richard Rose, Non-executive Chairman of Watchstone said: “We are on track with the strategy and execution of our plan to prepare our businesses for future disposals. These potential divestments or any alternative strategic options will be determined with a view to maximising shareholder value taking all factors into consideration.
With the stablisation and improvement of our operating businesses, there is no undue pressure to dispose of assets unless fair value is achieved.
We have already communicated that Watchstone will be run by a smaller central team and Indro Mukerjee has stated that he will resign from the Board having completed his planned work at the end of this year.
Indro will be succeeded by Stefan Borson, Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, who will take over as Group Chief Executive Officer following Indro’s departure. Stefan will continue his existing responsibilities, ensuring continuity on all legal and regulatory matters.
In line with this next phase, we will reduce the size of the Board as of January 2018 and this will be comprised of me as Non-executive Chairman; Stefan Borson (who will join the Board upon Indro’s departure); Mark Williams, Group Finance Director; and two of the current non-executive directors. The remaining two non-executive directors will resign at the end of the year and an announcement will be made on this in due course.
For the rest of the year, Indro, Stefan and I will continue to work closely with the rest of the Board to effect a smooth transition to the new structure. This transition work will include: further strengthening of our operating businesses’ management teams; the implementation of a number of business improvements to give greater operational autonomy to our portfolio companies; and the continued guidance of their development as an owner. In addition, Watchstone will continue with its divestment strategy as well as bringing the legacy and other legal issues to their satisfactory conclusion.
This will all be done with a view to maximising the amount of cash to be returned to shareholders at the earliest possible opportunity. As previously announced, this has been delayed by the commencement of legal proceedings by Slater & Gordon (UK) 1 Limited and whilst we believe that their accusations are groundless and without merit, it would not be possible for the Board or a Court to sanction the distribution of assets or cash whilst this litigation remains active.
I would like to thank Indro for his dedication and ability to lead the Group through a series of complex legacy issues. Indro has had to tackle a range of challenges, has increased revenues and cut losses and has established a foundation to enable the Group to deliver the best possible value to our shareholders.”
For further information:
|Watchstone Group plc
|Tel: 03333 448048
|Peel Hunt LLP, Nominated Adviser and broker
Dan Webster, Adrian Trimmings, George Sellar
|Tel: 020 7418 8900