Meeting request denied

31 Dec, 2006 09:00 PM

CBH Group has refused to hold an extraordinary general meeting about its wheat marketing strategies with the Wheat Growers Association (WGA). Lawyers for both groups were at odds about whether the company was compelled to hold such a meeting under its articles of association. WGA chairman Bob Iffla said the refusal showed a disregard for CBH Group shareholder members' well-grounded concerns about the future of export wheat marketing. Mr Iffla said the meeting was requested so shareholders could discuss CBH Group actions, which they felt had undermined single desk wheat exporting. "We ended up with more than 480 signatures from growers with an overwhelming desire to have the meeting," he said. "Our lawyers have said there are grounds for the meeting but CBH Group lawyers say there are not." CBH Group board chairman Tony Critch said after considering the WGA request and taking legal advice, the company's board did not believe it was required to convene a meeting. In a letter to the WGA, Mr Critch said the power to make decisions about export wheat sales was vested exclusively with the company's directors. "The majority of volume reverted out of warehousing since the (Federal Agriculture) Minister's announcement of our export permit has been allocated to the company's wheat pool or to AgraCorp," he said. "This would suggest a considerable number of growers support a market pathway free from excessive overheads and possible future liabilities." Mr Critch said CBH Group had consulted with WAFarmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, which had both expressed concerns about WGA's meeting request. CBH Group will hold grower consultative meetings in the Wheatbelt early this year. Mr Iffla said it was strange that the farmers' own cooperative was happy to hold numerous meetings that would cost more than one extraordinary general meeting that WGA had proposed. "This is not just a matter of price but of single desk retention," he said. "Claims about my own wheat having been warehoused are not true. "Our whole wheat crop of about 9000t is in the national pool."


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