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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future