Mouchel shareholders spurn chance of £1.14m and defeat bid to save firm


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The Independent Online

Shareholders in Mouchel lodged a protest vote against the troubled motorway maintainer yesterday, failing to back a rescue plan that would have handed them a total of £1.14m, in favour of one which left them nothing.

Just over 28 per cent of investors who voted on the debt-for-equity swap, which would have saved the company and given them a 1p-per-share special dividend, turned the offer down, even though they knew the alternative plan would yield nothing. Because the plan needed 75 per cent of the votes to be carried, the resolution was defeated, albeit on a very poor turnout. Just a fifth of Mouchel's shareholders bothered to vote on a rescue deal for a company which has lost about 99.8 per cent of its value in the past four years.

One analyst said: "It looks like shareholders have taken umbrage at the offer and stuck two fingers up at the company, even if it means coming away with nothing whatsoever. After all, the amounts of money involved at this stage are pretty small."

Mouchel will now move on to plan B. This is the same as plan A, except that the shareholders won't get anything and therefore it does not need their approval. Since it has the agreement of the lenders, plan B is expected to go through. "No employees, customers or suppliers are expected to be materially affected," a Mouchel spokesman said.

Mouchel has been hit particularly hard by government spending cuts.