Hogg grilled by Allied Domecq investors

THE BOARD of Allied Domecq, the UK drinks group, faced a barrage of questions from shareholders yesterday before winning approval for the pounds 2.75bn sale of Allied's UK pubs division to privately owned Punch Taverns.

At an extraordinary general meeting held in London at the Inter-Continental hotel, Hyde Park, one shareholder said: "The management of this sale has been deplorable."

He criticised both the drawn-out nature of the disposal and the mix and match arrangement that the shareholders will be offered by Punch, whereby they can elect to receive a preferred proportion of cash, Punch loan notes or Bass shares. "It would be better dubbed a mess and mess arrangement," he said.

Another shareholder criticised the fixed price agreement in which Allied investors are locked into buying Bass shares at 938.5p, well above Friday's mid-market price of 843.5p.

Referring to the pounds 40m costs incurred during the sale, including pounds 13m stamp duty, a third shareholder said: "The lawyers, printers and stationers, not to mention the Post Office, which have profited from this fiasco, must have thought that Christmas had come early."

Sir Christopher Hogg, Allied's chairman, said: "I realise the complicated nature of the agreement may leave some shareholders bewildered and others dissatisfied." But when asked what he would change if he could begin the process again, he said: "I would make exactly the same decisions."

Before asking the shareholders to pass a special resolution to approve the deal, Sir Christopher presented a trading statement for the 11 months to 31 July. He said underlying trading profit had continued to grow, particularly in Europe and the Americas.

But he warned that reported profits from spirits and wines would be lower this year due to less bulk sales, the impact of currency translations and the disposal of the company's Irish distribution business, Cantrell & Cochrane. Pre-exceptional trading profits for the year ended 31 August 1998 were pounds 721m.

Yesterday's meeting was the culmination of a six-week bid battle for Allied's retail division, which Whitbread initially looked certain to win. Before the meeting, Allied's board had received proxy votes from a majority of shareholders, 98 per cent of whom were in favour of the sale.

Under the terms of the agreement, Punch will pay pounds 2.75bn for Allied's 3,500 UK pubs, its 25 per cent stake in soft drinks company Britannia and a half share in drinks store venture First Quench.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate