Passport firm De La Rue sparks fury as it threatens to silence critics at today’s AGM
Passport maker De La Rue has threatened to block one of its biggest shareholders from asking awkward questions at today’s annual meeting.
De La Rue has told activist investor Crystal Amber that it will not be allowed to raise concerns.
All shareholders must be allowed by law to ask questions at an annual meeting.
Pasport maker De La Rue has told activist investor Crystal Amber that it will not be allowed to raise concerns
But Crystal Amber, which is calling for a shake-up of the business and owns a 4.6 per cent stake, says De La Rue is using a loophole to avoid responsibilities.
It comes after De La Rue lost a contract to print UK passports, meaning the new blue post-Brexit passport will be made by the French instead.
The manoeuvre drew a sharp rebuke from campaigners. Mark Bentley, of shareholder society Sharesoc, said: ‘Attempting to block investors’ questions is an affront to shareholder democracy.’
Crystal Amber shares in De La Rue are held by its custodian bank, a common arrangement which means its name does not appear on the register.
De La Rue is reportedly claiming there is no proof Crystal Amber is the beneficial owner, despite the fact that the pair held talks following De La Rue’s results in May.
Crystal Amber’s head Richard Bernstein said: ‘De La Rue’s behaviour is extremely bizarre.’
De La Rue said: ‘There have been multiple meetings with Crystal Amber, and they missed the deadline to be appointed as a third party proxy by the administrators of their fund in Guernsey – which meant they are unable to raise questions during the AGM.’