Bradford & Bingley members in line for windfall

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The Independent Online

Bradford & Bingley yesterday dangled a possible £815 windfall for all its 2.6 million members if they vote to convert the UK's second-largest building society into a public company.

Bradford & Bingley yesterday dangled a possible £815 windfall for all its 2.6 million members if they vote to convert the UK's second-largest building society into a public company.

Members would receive a flat allocation of 250 shares if the vote for conversion succeeds at a special general meeting on 17 July.

This would be worth £650 to £815, according to a valuation by Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, last December, which puts the total value of the business at between £1.75bn to £2.2bn.

The allocation system will not take into account the size of members' savings accounts or mortgages. However, members who borrow and save with Bradford & Bingley will qualify twice, receiving 500 shares. The society has also said that its child members and accounts held by the deceased will also trigger the shares' windfalls.

However, members will receive no windfalls if the stringent conditions for conversion are not met Fifty per cent of savers must vote, with a 75 per cent majority. There are no restrictions about how many borrowers must vote but more than 50 per cent must vote in favour. If members behave in the same way as they did last year, in a preliminary vote on conversion, Bradford and Bingley will remain mutual.

Last year's vote saw only 35 per cent of savers turn out with 64 per cent voting in favour of a conversion.

Christopher Rodrigues, Bradford & Bingley chief executive, said: "Last year our members gave the board a clear mandate to take steps to convert. Since one of the requirements is for a high turnout, it is very important that each member takes the time to vote."

Bradford & Bingley will send out voting papers and its transfer document, detailing the conversion procedure, to all of its 2.6m members from 6 June. Members voting by post must return ballot papers by 12 July.

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