In a statement this week, Glanbia Co-op chair John Murphy clarified that the co-op was in a position to fund the acquisition of Glanbia Ireland without the sale of Glanbia plc shares. It is a significant clarification, appearing to indicate that the deal to acquire the 40% shareholding in Glanbia Ireland from the plc for €307m is not contingent on reducing the co-op’s shareholding in the plc.

It therefore raises the question as to why alongside seeking a simple majority for the proposal to acquire the plc’s share in Glanbia Ireland at a special general meeting on 17 December, members are also being asked to vote on the much more significant proposal to allow the co-op board to reduce the co-op shareholding in the plc by almost 40% – from the current threshold of 28% to 17%.