The board of Cork Opera House has launched a major process to trace the company’s “missing” shareholders and buy back their shares as part of a tidy-up of corporate governance issues.
The Opera House confirmed it intends to advertise the process nationally and in Britain as part of a wider move to ensure it complies with modern corporate governance rules.
It is understood that it has about 450 shareholders on its books, but several are untraceable, or have not responded to correspondence or attended AGMs for several years. Many more have died but are still listed as shareholders.
Today, at the 56th AGM of Cork Opera House, the Chairman and Board of Directors presented the Annual Report and audited statements of the company for the financial year ending March 2015.
It is hoped that the process agreed at the company’s 56th AGM on Wednesday will address these outstanding issue and help streamline the company’s operations.
The AGM passed several special resolutions and tweaked some of the company’s articles of association to allow the share buy-back process to begin.
Board chairman Damian Wallace said he hoped the process would begin within weeks and be concluded before the end of the next financial year in March 2016.
The shares were issued after the Opera House was destroyed by fire in 1955.
The shares, which were issued as part of a fundraising effort to help rebuild the venue, were viewed as a charitable donation rather than an investment in what is essentially a not-for-profit company committed to artistic endeavour.
It is believed that each share could be worth less than €1.25.
Once the company advertises its intention to buy back the shares, people will have three months to respond.
Arising out of the AGM, the company has the power to acquire these shares from un-traced shareholders and convert them to non-voting shares.
The theatre’s board believe the entire process could cost in or around €30,000.
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