Aryzta shareholders approve €800m funding

Frozen bakery giant Aryzta has secured approval for an €800m fundraising plan by a narrow margin.

The controversial plan, which had been challenged by Aryzta’s largest shareholder, attracted 53% of the shareholder vote at the company’s annual general meeting last week.

Aryzta had announced in August that, following a review of its capital structure, it was approaching shareholders with a view to raising €800m.

Shareholder Cobas Asset Management objected to the plan, claiming the €800m funding increase was too high, suggesting instead a €400m capital increase and sales of non-core assets to raise a further €250m.

In response, the Aryzta board had said €800m was required to reduce “its excessive debt levels, strengthen its balance sheet and provide the necessary liquidity and working capital funding to deliver on its turnaround plan”.

In a statement following the approval vote, the Aryzta board said it would continue to consult with shareholders following the AGM, “with a specific focus on those who opposed the resolution”.

“The board believes the proposal approved by shareholders is in the best interests of Aryzta as a whole and is the option with the highest probability of success,” it stated. “With an effective capital structure, the board and executive team will focus on delivering on its multi-year turnaround plan.

Cobas said it was disappointed that a majority of the shareholders represented at the AGAM approved the capital increase.

“We accept the decision, but will consider what additional measures are in the best interest of the company,” it stated.

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