DANIEL THWAITES PLC
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Annual General Meeting, which was a closed meeting due to the Governments restrictions around public gatherings, was held at 12 noon on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.
The results of the resolutions proposed at the meeting were as follows:
Resolution 1 – To re-elect Oscar Yerburgh as a director – 99.79% in favour
Resolution 2 – To re-appoint BDO as auditors and authorise the directors to determine their remuneration – 99.54% in favour
Resolution 3 – To renew the authority given to the directors to allot shares – 99.62% in favour
Resolution 4 – To disapply the pre-emption rights provision – 98.36% in favour
Resolution 5 – Authority for the Company to make market purchases of its own ordinary shares – 99.56% in favour
A number of questions were submitted to the Company and these and the Company’s responses are detailed below:
Q. The Company’s AGM Statement and Covid-19 Update mentions the “tremendous support for our tenanted pubs”. However, with the exception of April the Company has continued to charge full rents to tenants despite the pubs being closed and more recently trading at only a fraction of pre lockdown levels. This is in contrast to many other regional brewers. The Company’s tenants do not feel they have been supported by the Company as you claim. Does the Company have any plans to write off any of these rents and what plans does the Company have to support tenants if there is a further lockdown?
A. We have sought to balance the interests of both the company and the tenanted pubs over the period since 1 April. In this, we have tried to be fair and reasonable on a case by case basis regarding tenanted pub rent, from full rent relief in some cases to assessing the level of government grant in others. This means that on average in the year to date rent concessions of approximately 50% have been in place. If needed the company stands ready to support its pubs over the winter period.
Q. Will the Board do all in its power to rebalance the debt on pension payments caused by this years pause within a fixed number of financial years and record commitment there to?
A. The company took a brief contribution holiday for three months whilst the effects of lockdown and the need to conserve cash became clearer. The sums saved will be paid back over time.
Q. Would you consider moving your share listing to a more closely followed index, such as AIM?
A. We have looked at moving the listing to AIM, but do not believe that the additional costs warrant such a move at this time.
Q. Can you please provide an update on your former brewery in Blackburn. What is your strategy for the site? Over what timeframe do you expect redevelopment to happen? Do you expect to redevelop it yourselves, partner with an experienced developer or sell it on as a shovel ready site once the planning permissions are in place?
A. The former brewery site in Blackburn has been demolished, we are now actively marketing the site for redevelopment by a third party.
Q. What steps can you take to further de-risk the defined benefit pension scheme?
A. We have looked at all options to de-risk the final salary scheme including investment strategy, buyout, Pension Increase Exchange and Enhanced Transfer Values, we review these options on an ongoing basis.
Q. Your term loan carries a high average fixed rate of 7.02% per annum and runs to December 2025. Could you refinance this at a more advantageous rate?
A. The directors have considered refinancing the fixed rate debt embedded in the Company’s Capital Structure and do not believe that it is in the best interests of the shareholders to refinance this at this moment in time.