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My thoughts after the proceedings of the 2016 AGM.

I have updated my page on the New Constitution, and my observations of it, post AGM - HERE

Having discovered and having forced the Board to reveal what it did, there are perhaps now even more reasons why you should Name me as your PROXY next year and register it online.


But firstly, to be completely fair, I will start with what I saw as good.

1] I am very happy with the way David Kelly seems to be running Property and Leisure, and with the new Directors elected to it's Board.

2] I'm happy that things seem to be progressing as far as the Geneva Shopping Centre and our Berlin Airport land. I hope that if the Board finds a suitable buyer that it gives very serious consideration to making a special dividend payment to shareholders.

3] I'm glad to see that the Board is still plans to reduce our debt by €30m inside 5 years. The increase in book value of the Berlin land, if translated into sales, should allow us wipe out our debt totally with some cash to spare. Again, a special dividend to shareholders should ensue.

4] It's good that the ordinary dividend is at least maintained.

5] It's good that Davy have been appointed to make it easier to trade shares.

6] It's great that the Board is following my recommendation from the 2015 AGM that they are going to set up Audit and Remuneration Committees. I'd like to see these Committees made up of independent representatives, and not Board members with the resulting conflict of interest, as it would be if they only sat on them.

And now for the Bad Points (as I saw them)

1] The Board seems intent on keeping this as an IFA run and administered Company, even though they have only a 1% stake. They have managed to get resolutions approved over several years that they interpret as allowing them completely control who becomes Directors, and even who become new shareholders - to the detrement of the share price.

In saying, as they did, that the Board is only allowing people who are both IFA members AND insurance customers of FBD, to become new shareholders, and using the Special Resolution passed at AGM2014 to justify this stance, they are shooting themselves, and existing shareholders in both feet.

I feel that if the shareholders who passed the 2014 resolution had known about A] How FBD was going to raise premiums to cover their "No Nonsense" losses fiasco, B] The degree of dishonesty, cover-up and plain greed at the top of IFA, and C] The numbers of those leaving either or both IFA and FBD, the result would have been different.

So where does this leave existing shareholders? Shareholders passing the 2014 resolution might have imagined new shareholders coming from young milk suppliers, but at 19c a litre I can't see that. Nor can I see most existing shareholders as having much spare cash (unless our Board members buy more than the token holding that many have).
Stopping the likes of large non-IFA member Agri-contractors who might want to buy 10,000 shares for the 10% FBD Insurance discount would be just plain stupid, in my opinion. Or what if a Parish Council, with land and a bit of money to invest wanted a few shares? They could fail the new shareholder criteria on 2 counts, yet would be very desirable new shareholders, - again in my opinion

2] I was surprised at the number of "original shareholders" who attended the AGM, and the apparent lack of younger shareholders. These 'die-hard IFA men' had an attitude of "so what if Developments fails, as long as Holdings is propped up."
Many of these older shareholders seem to have the belief that the Company has served them well, and that they have had excellent return on their money.
This might be true if you have had your shares for 40 years. But it's not true now. Anybody who bought shares in the Company between 2005 and 2010 paid €3 to €7 each for them. The shareprice last traded at 80 Cents. (April.'15) Offers to buy shares at as low as 60 Cents have been published.
Value has been completely destroyed. The 2013, and 2014 and 2015, dividend was 5 Cents. That's down from 7 Cents in 2012 & 2011.
If you paid €7 for your shares you will have to wait 140 years to see your money back from dividends. You may have paid more in Stamp Duty that you have got in any recent year in dividend. If you inherited your shares in the last 3 to 15 years, you probably have paid much, much more in Inheritance or Gift tax per share than the current price.

I believe that newer shareholders are NOT being spoken for, nor are their interests being represented, at either the AGMs, or at Board level.

I want to work for the good of OUR Company and I want ALL shareholders to know what's going on in OUR Company.

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