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Shareholder body aims at Rakon's Robinsons

NZN 31/07/2016 Tina Morrison

The New Zealand Shareholders Association wants to reduce the influence of Rakon's founding Robinson family on the listed high-tech components manufacturer.

The association will oppose the re-election of executive director Darren Robinson, son of the company's founder Warren Robinson, at the company's annual meeting next month and plans to write to all shareholders seeking proxy support for the move, chairman John Hawkins said in a statement on Monday.

It also wants director Warren Robinson to voluntarily stand down and suggested the company needed someone with "a stronger and more realistic commercial focus" than his son, current managing director Brent Robinson.

Rakon sold shares to the public in an initial public offering a decade ago, and the founding Robinson family retains a stake of about 23 per cent and three of seven board seats.

In the past five years the company has produced four annual losses totalling $113 million and one profit of $3.2m.

Mr Hawkins said shareholders were "fed up" with the Robinson family having a dominant board role.

"We find it very difficult to understand how the executive in charge of sales could be properly held to account when he sits as a director, as well as being the brother of the managing director and son of a third director."

Mr Hawkins noted that two independent directors had resigned after relatively short tenures.

He said the "final straw" for many shareholders was the roughly 23 per cent pay increase for Brent and Darren Robinson in the last year, even though the company had promised in 2012 to freeze director and executive pay until it had achieved earnings of $25m.

The association has talked with Rakon chair Bryan Mogridge about its concerns.

"We expect to see him outline a strategy that is in the best interests of all shareholders, rather than the Robinsons," Mr Hawkins said.

Rakon shares last traded at 22.5 cents and have shed 26 per cent this year.

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