C&G dissidents short of quorum

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The Independent Online
THE PROTEST group campaigning against the take-over of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society by Lloyds Bank is still short of the 100 supporters needed to call a special general meeting.

The group, C&G Alternatives, wants to force the society to examine the possibility of better offers. It says last week's revised offer makes no difference.

Peter Nicholson, one of the founders, said: 'We have not moved our ground because of this new way of distributing Lloyds' pounds 1.8m. You can't sell the family silver until you have tested the market and had it valued.' An auction could raise the price: 'Tesco paid more than it intended for William Low because of Sainsbury's counter-bid.'

But Andrew Longhurst, chief executive of the C&G, said the management examined all possible bidders before recommending the Lloyds offer. He added that anyone disputing the society's desire to become part of Lloyds was in effect calling for a vote of no- confidence in the management.

A special general meetingneeds the signatures of at least 100 members of two or more years' standing. They have to put up pounds 10 each as a deposit. If the quorum of 125 members is not present half an hour after the meeting is due to start, the money is forfeited.

There are likely to be more people discontented with the distribution of the Lloyds funds now that C&G has come back with a scheme that addresses the court's objections to the first plan.

Savers of less than two years' standing are now excluded from payments, and so are borrowers. But the society has tried to counter the impact by moving the effective date forward a year to the end of this December. This is likely to cut down the number of members eligible to vote but excluded from the payout. These people are crucial to the success of the scheme; the C&G needs a high turn-out as well as a 75 per cent majority of savers. The separate vote by borrowers just needs a straight majority in favour.

C&G Alternatives is less concerned about the way the cake is cut than the size of the cake.

As a result of the qualifying date being moved forward a year, there is a splendid opportunity for anyone with access to a children's C&G account. This will qualify for the flat pounds 500 per account and the percentage payout of around 13 per cent.

For adult accounts, the percentage is based on the lower of the sums in the account at two points - either 31 March or 20 April 1994, and completion day next year. But with children, the percentage will be based on the sum in the account on 31 December 1994. C&G has noticed this opportunity and will be limiting additional investment in children's accounts to pounds 1,000 until the end of the year. That pounds 1,000 will earn 13 per cent by completion day next summer.

Your Money, page 9

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