Special meeting may not end bid by pair

Abano Healthcare's special meeting will be held tomorrow but there is no guarantee the dissident shareholders will back off if their motion to remove chairman Trevor Janes is defeated.

Abano Healthcare shareholders Peter Hutson and James Reeves went to the High Court in Auckland in a bid to delay the special meeting they called, where they are seeking to remove Mr Janes.

Messrs Hutson and Reeves wanted to delay this Friday's meeting by three to four weeks, saying the timeframe was ''inadequate'' and ''impracticable'' to call and conduct the meeting.

However, Justice Susan Thomas declined to delay the meeting in a decision released yesterday, Abano managing director Alan Clarke said.

The meeting was then due to go ahead this Friday.

Brokers spoken to by the Otago Daily Times said if Messrs Hutson and Reeves did not get the result they wanted tomorrow, there was no guarantee they would back off.

''They have mentioned before that if they fail they may have another go. It's very distracting for the board, management and all involved,'' a broker said.

Mr Clarke said he was very pleased with the decision,''We felt that there was nothing inhibiting the meeting proceeding and so we're pleased that the process is going to be completed from Friday,'' he said.

The company issued the notice of meeting on Friday May 23 and the board recommended shareholders oppose the vote to dump the chairman. Mr Janes abstained from endorsing the directors' recommendation.

The dissident shareholders said they were disappointed but not surprised by the decision.

''We have viewed the special meeting process as fundamentally flawed from the start. We await the judge's written reasoning.

We note Abano submitted at the hearing that a better option, rather than delaying the meeting, was to simply call another special meeting.

The next step is a second special meeting run properly this time,'' Mr Hutson and Mr Reeves said in a statement.

''We are not going away. Further evidence emerged in the hearing that raises serious questions as to whether Trevor Janes is a fit and proper person to lead Abano. Furthermore, this process has raised fundamental questions as to what levels of misleading behaviours are acceptable in New Zealand's capital markets.''

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