GEC considers buy-in as Weinstock is re-elected

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The Independent Online
A MOVE to buy in shares in GEC is under 'very active consideration,' Lord Prior, chairman, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting, writes Terence Wilkinson.

At the meeting yesterday a resolution to re-elect Lord Weinstock, who is now 70, as managing director was passed on a show of hands.

Despite disquiet among some institutional shareholders in July, when it was announced that Lord Weinstock was to stay on as managing director for another two years, there were no signs of dissent at yesterday's meeting. Proxy votes were not disclosed.

Lord Prior said that the slow improvement in the economies where GEC traded had been maintained in the past two months and sales and profits were slightly ahead of last year despite a decline in interest income on its pounds 2.8bn net cash holdings.

He said that half of the pounds 2.8bn was held in joint ventures and was not available automatically to GEC. But with cash in excess of pounds 1bn the company was looking at suitable investment targets either through acquisition or other means, including share buy-backs if no purchase could be found.

Rebuffing recent criticism on the reluctance of GEC to use its vast cash resources, Lord Prior said that the company had spent pounds 2.1bn on acquisitions over the past seven years.

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