Glanbia Co-op will meet on 17 December to vote on the proposal to buy the plc out of Glanbia Ireland (GI).

A €307m price is agreed for the plc’s 40% shareholding in GI, subject to shareholder approval.

The special general meeting will be virtual, with the 7,000 shareholders entitled to vote meeting online.

Glanbia personnel are contacting every shareholder to ensure they will have access to the meeting.

Glanbia Co-op chair John Murphy also clarified that the co-op could fund the deal through “existing cash resources and debt facilities” if it desired.

Therefore, he said “the funding to complete this proposed transaction is not contingent on the sale of Glanbia plc shares owned by Glanbia Co-op”.

The board also clarified that it has “no near-term” plans to sell the 4% of plc shares it is asking the co-op to place at the board’s disposal and discretion.

Share stabilises

This statement, coupled with a note from Barclays that highlighted any spin-out of shares would not take place until next June, seem to have stopped the steady decline in the Glanbia plc share price.

I think it’s quite rushed

Having slipped to €11.50 on Tuesday evening, the price recovered through Wednesday to €11.91. Glanbia plc shares were worth €14 on 10 November. The Barclays analysis indicated a target price of €16.90.

“I think it’s quite rushed,” said IFA dairy chair Stephen Arthur. “There are only 17 days until the vote. It’s a very short period to give to such a massive decision. We need proper face-to-face and farmer-to-farmer engagement, this is a co-op after all.

“The continuous fall in share price since this was announced is a huge concern. Is the schedule being pushed along this fast for the good of the co-op, or is it the plc driving the agenda?” he queried.

The Co-op board should spell out its plan on how it intends to deal with the reduced share price

Arthur revealed that the IFA wants to hold a meeting next week on the Glanbia proposal, and has invited Jim Bergin and Sean Molloy of Glanbia Ireland to address the meeting and answer questions from members.

“The Co-op board should spell out its plan on how it intends to deal with the reduced share price in recent weeks and the implications for the costings of the proposal,” he said.

Genuine concern

“There is genuine concern among farmers on this issue,” said ICMSA president Pat McCormack.

“The Co-op board should clearly state its plans in terms of utilising cash reserves and debt as opposed to an immediate share sale to fund the proposal and the viability of same.

“In order to provide assurances to farmers and shareholders on this matter, a clear statement of intent from the Co-op board would be useful and – if necessary – a delay in the vote considered to allow this to happen,” concluded McCormack.