September 23 (Renewables Now) - The board of directors of Swiss solar industry supplier Meyer Burger Technology AG (SWX:MBTN) is unanimously recommending that shareholders vote against the election of Mark Kerekes as member of the board at the upcoming extraordinary shareholders’ meeting (ESM).
As has been reported previously, a shareholder group around Sentis Capital PCC wants Kerekes, a co-managing director and board member of Sentis, to join the board of directors of Meyer Burger. An EMS has been scheduled for October 30, following a request by the activist shareholder group.
“The Board of Directors is unanimous in its conclusion that the interests of the shareholder group headed by Sentis and those of Meyer Burger and its shareholders are wide apart,” says a letter to shareholders issued by Meyer Burge’s board. “A trusting working relationship within the Board of Directors containing a representative of an individual stakeholder who does not see himself as part of the management team seems unrealistic,” it continues.
In July it was announced that the shareholder group controlled 10.425% of the voting rights in Meyer Burger. Sentis alone, a unit of Elbogross SA, which in turn is wholly owned by Russian businessman Petr Kondrashev, has built a stake of 8.219%, according to previously available information.
Meyer Burger’s board said it has sought to obtain a clarification of the background, activities and objectives of Petr Kondrashev and his investments, but has not yet received satisfactory information. “Apart from significant speculation on the Internet, hardly any information could be obtained about his business activities in Russia.”
The board is warning that if Mark Kerekes is elected as member, he will gain access to intimate information about the company, which would lead to conflicts of interest. He has been unable to demonstrate how such conflicts could be resolved in an extensive interview with the nomination committee, the board of directors said.
Kerekes does not have any relevant experience on the board of a listed company, an industrial company or in the solar industry, the current board of directors adds. It further said that Mark Kerekes’ joining as member would threaten the further implementation of the change in strategy at Meyer Burger. As part of a strategic realignment, the company is withdrawing from the low-margin bulk business based on PERC technology and focusing its efforts on the marketing of Meyer Burger’s proprietary heterojunction/SmartWire technology. This realignment is closely associated with CEO Hans Braendle, who has announced he would resign if a Sentis representative was elected to the board of directors.