Ireland's Independent News & Media has been successful in
engineering a major exodus from the APN News & Media
board, and in putting a stop to a planned capital raising.
The chairman of APN, Peter Hunt, along with chief executive
and managing director Brett Chenoweth and three independent
directors Melinda Conrad, John Harvey and John Maasland will
resign, effective from tomorrow.
Independent director Kevin Luscombe will retire in April, as
previously planned, APN said.
The board of directors met on Sunday to determine whether APN
would undertake a renounceable pro-rata capital raising.
Preparation for the capital raising had been supported by all
directors and had been under discussion for several months,
although the timing and final decision to proceed had not
"While the board agreed the company needed to reduce its
debt, it was unable to agree on the methodology," the company
said in a statement.
The departing directors believed that a capital raising
should be undertaken when the company announces its annual
results on Thursday.
"Independent News & Media plc (INM) and its major
shareholder together with Allan Gray representing
approximately 51 per cent of APN's shares have unequivocally
indicated they are opposed to a capital raising at the
present time," it said.
Last Friday, the board received a requisition from INM for an
extraordinary general meeting to remove six directors,
including the chairman and chief executive, and to establish
a new board.
This would consist initially of two INM representatives,
Vincent Crowley and Paul Connolly, as well as Peter Cosgrove
and Deputy Chairman Ted Harris.
"The departing directors have a different view on gearing
levels to the major shareholders and in light of their
opposing position it is not tenable for them to continue,"
the statement said.
The company is in the process of appointing a search firm to
assist in the selection of a chief executive and additional
Debt-laden Independent News & Media, which owns 28.95 per
cent of APN.
APN's market capitalisation, as of last week, was A$198.5m,
compared with the company's debt, which stands at about A$450
In an earnings update released last December, APN News said
its second half net profit would be affected by a decline in
publishing revenue in Australia.
Before last week's trading halt, which ends tomorrow
(Tuesday), APN News shares were at A30c, having traded in a
wide A24.5c to A96c range over the last 52 weeks.