Manufacturing News

Penrice Soda directors urge investors to be patient ahead of EGM

Directors at Adelaide-based soda ash maker Penrice Soda are urging shareholders to support them, ahead of the company’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on January 25.

Penrice, which is one of only three companies so far to have suffered under the “two strikes” law, has called for patience from shareholders. The law means an EGM must be called within 90 days of a second shareholder vote of 25 per cent or more against a company’s remuneration report.

Its largest shareholder, London City Equities, has been behind the two votes, and chairman David Trebeck has said that LCE hopes to gain de facto control of the company.

"We, and Penrice's senior management team, remain utterly focused on the only plan that has the capacity to solve the underlying problems facing us," wrote Trebeck and deputy chair Andrew Fletcher in a joint letter to shareholders, reported by AAP.

The company is negotiating debts of $95 million with banks, according to The Australian, and has urged investors to support the board’s restructuring plans and its attempts to push its new selective salt recovery technology profitable, the launch of which was reported last year in Manufacturers’ Monthly.

"I am quite comfortable with shareholders being pretty pissed off with what has happened and if they want to vent their spleen on us that is fair enough," Trebeck told The Australian.

"But it is more about what is going to happen from here on."

Penrice has suffered a downturn in demand for soda ash, due to winemakers sourcing their glass bottles overseas, the high dollar, and weakness in the building market.

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