Stork split-up vote not binding, says board

Shareholders in Dutch engineering company Stork yesterday voted at an extraordinary general meeting in favour of a plan by two major investors to break up the company. However, Stork management says it does not consider the vote binding because shareholders representing only around 52% of the outstanding shares took part in the vote.

The refusal to accept the vote means the issue is likely to end up in court. Chairman of the supervisory board Jan Kalff said Stork would react formally in a few weeks. ‘We will consider the interests of all the other shareholders and stakeholders in Stork,’ he told the Financieele Dagblad. ‘For example, I have heard very little today about our customers.’
Hedge funds Paulson and Centaurus, which hold 33% of Stork want to break up the company and sell off all but the aerospace interests. But Stork says such a move would hurt the group’s long-term interests. ‘We’re in a strong position. We grew (sales) by 8% in 2005 … and booked record profits, so why are we even discussing this? ’ chairman Sjoerd Vollebregt, told broadcaster NOS. The unions are also opposed to the split.

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