In yet another awful week, riddled with uncertainty, for the 145 companies with a share trading quotation on PLUS Markets, the directors managed a statement which simply defies belief.
This was contained in a statement made on 8 June 2012. Prior to that:
- PLUS Markets announced its results for the twelve months to 31 December 2011. Turnover £2.9m, loss £2.56m. Cash balances down from £5.89m a year earlier to £2.38m.
- Simon Chapman, a well known City operator, led a shareholder’s revolt over the settlement costs to two of its directors of £423,000 and fees to its advisers of £960,000.
- PLUS Markets was forced to announce that it had received valid notices seeking to remove the interim chairman and the chief executive officer.
- PLUS Markets said it was proposing to cancel its AIM trading facility and would not be putting into place any alternative scheme.
The statement made by the Directors on 8 June 2012 was the usual mixture of verbose self-justification and “not my fault Gov” type rhetoric. The sentence which has infuriated some members of the small-cap community read as follows:
“Shareholders should also note that the Company has not paid any bonuses for at least four years.”
My guess is that shareholders are focusing on the fall of the share price to 0.28p, an all-time low, and the proposed removal of their AIM trading facility. The payment of ‘settlement costs’ is contractual. Perhaps the non-executive directors who approval these terms might like to explain their thinking.
Over the last two to three years I have been staggered by the poor quality of the announcements put out by PLUS Markets. I have never understood their alternative trading systems and what that had to do with running a small-cap trading market. The directors have failed to deal with key issues such a trading liquidity, fund-raising and the sensitivity of fees.
If you think I am being unfair in my continued dismay at the demise of PLUS Markets, the removal of an engine of growth from the UK financial system and my reasoned rejection of the directors as operators of a financial company, please tell me why the directors should seek brownie points for not paying themselves bonuses even though they had contractually secure ‘settlement costs’.
Bet you can’t.