Angry shareholders in the Yellow Pages publisher hibu have accused the directors of “deplorable” behaviour and cowardice for pulling out of a special general meeting, where they were set to face a grilling.
Barry Dearing, the lawyer for the dissident Hibu Shareholder Group, said: “If they’ve got nothing to hide why don’t they stand up like men and face the people who put them into office? This is Britain. You stand up and be counted.”
Debt-laden hibu’s shares were suspended from the stock market in July, leaving shareholders with nothing.
Debt-holders are poised to take control in a debt-for-equity swap.
But it took until Wednesday of this week for the directors to call in accountants Deloitte and put the firm into administration, days before the long-planned meeting on 4 December.
Mr Dearing accused the directors of trying to “scupper” the meeting. “You’ve got a company bringing in administrators while its subsidiaries are sending circulars to customers saying ‘we’re going great guns’. It’s a complete rape of an entity.”
Those close to hibu said they had been planning to go into administration since July and insisted they were not trying to scupper the meeting.
The chairman Bob Wigley, the chief executive Mike Pocock and other directors will not attend but Deloitte will answer questions.
The directors’ executive powers are said to have ceased as soon as administrators were appointed.