Aryzta AG: «Delayed EGM confirms need for urgent change»

Zurich / CH. (vag / eb) A few days ago, Swish-Irish Aryzta AG published an announcement inviting shareholders to the Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders 2020 (EGM). In that announcement, it refers to a letter to shareholders from the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Two or three personal details are also under discussion. Details can be found here. Below is the statement of the group of shareholders, represented by Veraison, on the latest developments:

Delayed EGM and chaotic strategy process confirm the urgent need for leadership change

«The group of shareholders represented by Veraison notes that the Extraordinary General Meeting which it requested on 20 May 2020 will finally take place on 16 September 2020 – four months after the request was made. The Board of Directors of Aryzta AG continues to relentlessly employ delaying tactics. With the breach of its previous public commitment to hold the EGM by mid-August the Board is disrespecting the trust and fundamental rights of shareholders.

«Since 2017, the current Board of Directors has failed to set the right strategic course to focus the company and reduce the complexity of Aryzta. The massive value destruction is a clear reflection of this. It is disconcerting that the Strategic Review announced at short notice in May 2020 by the Board of Directors of Aryzta has apparently failed to reach any conclusions. Rather, the sale of the company is now the apparent priority. This leads to unneeded confusion among employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Apparently, the Chairman and the Board do not believe in the company’s future under their leadership.

«The shareholder group will reject any strategic action that lacks transparency and believes that such actions must be reviewed by the new Board elected on September 16. Also, the shareholder group will take any legal measures necessary to ensure the planned EGM goes ahead on 16 September 2020 in order to avoid further value destruction by the current Board in this transitional period.

«The Chairman of the Board and two additional Board members have announced their resignations. This is a first step but clearly is not enough. The three independent candidates proposed by the shareholder group, Urs Jordi, Heiner Kamps and Armin Bieri, bring the industry expertise and leadership experience required to get Aryzta back on a solid footing.

«The shareholder group is convinced that Aryzta’s shares trade at a significant discount to their intrinsic value. In our view, the company operates in fundamentally attractive markets, with strong positions in its core markets. Aryzta thus has a strong potential if the company takes the right path. The independent Board candidates have a clear view to focus on the core. This will reduce risks and can significantly increase value. The proposed leadership change has over recent weeks received strong support from many other shareholders and is in the best interest of all stakeholders.»