…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
A group of investors in nanotechnology firm Nanoco has called for a shareholders’ meeting to oust the entire board, citing “serious corporate governance issues.”
Led by Tariq Hamoodi, the group, which owns approximately 5% of the company, aims to remove CEO Brian Tenner, CFO Liam Gray, Chairman Christopher Richards, and three other board members.
The investors allege that the Nanoco board, known for manufacturing ultra-thin lights used in screens, is prioritizing the interests of the company’s top shareholder, Swiss bank Lombard Odier, and former major investor Richard Griffiths, rather than acting in the best interest of all shareholders.
Griffiths, a seasoned City veteran, founded the stockbroker Evolution Group.
The group claims that the Nanoco board made statements regarding a lawsuit with Samsung that implied the company expected a settlement significantly larger than its market capitalization at the time, characterizing it as “transformational.”
However, the settlement announced amounted to $150 million, of which $85 million was for the sale of Nanoco’s intellectual property rights.
The shareholder group argues that, after deducting legal costs, the actual proceeds from the settlement itself were negligible.
Following the revelation of the settlement, shares in Nanoco, listed on AIM, fell by 23%.
Christopher Richards, the Nanoco chairman, stated that the company “emphatically” rejects the claims made by the shareholder group.
The company will review the request for a meeting and decide whether to proceed in due course.
The potential outcome of a vote on the directors’ future is uncertain, as a significant portion of Nanoco’s shares are held by retail investors.
Richards expressed, “We continue to emphatically reject Mr. Hamoodi’s proposals to change the entirety of the board at such a key point in Nanoco’s evolution.
The proposed board changes are not in the best interests of the company or its shareholders.”
He added that Nanoco is at an exciting turning point, with the proceeds from the litigation supporting its organic business, which presents significant growth opportunities and the potential for a return of capital to shareholders.
The board welcomes scrutiny but considers Hamoodi’s interpretation to be selective, containing factual errors and speculative concerns that distort the true narrative of events.