Sunday July 12, 2020

Shareholders and pensioners stage protest at INM meeting

Over 100 current and former journalists gather to face down company executives over scrapped pension scheme

Ian Guider

Markets Editor

@ianguider
5th December, 2016
Protesters outside the Independent News and Media meeting today Pic: RollingNews.ie

Shareholders and pensioners in Independent News & Media (INM) have criticised the company's plan to wind up its defined benefit pension scheme.

The company held an extraordinary general meeting this afternoon to approve a number of measures to clean up its balance sheet in a move that would pave the way for the company to resume dividend payments.

Following a show of hands at the meeting, the two resolutions weren't carried but chairman Leslie Buckley said he carried enough proxy votes to see the motions over the line.

However, the meeting was overshadowed by a protest beforehand by some of the company’s pensioners. More than 100 current and former journalists greeted the company’s directors and shareholders ahead of the meeting.

Martin Fitzpatrick - a shareholder and a respected former senior business journalist at Independent Newspapers - said the decision to scrap the fund was one of the most shameful corporate decisions ever made.

Buckley took a number of questions from shareholders on the pension fund, which has a €23 million deficit, but said he was not able to comment because of ongoing talks with the scheme's trustees.

Another shareholder said he hoped the company wouldn't overpay for future acquisitions.

Last week it was reported that Buckley and chief executive Robert Pitt were divided over the price for a potential takeover of Denis O'Brien's Newstalk radio station.

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