The Meredith group of dissident shareholders swept the board at the extraordinary general meeting of Murray Group Organics (ASX code MRG) on Wednesday last week. The defeat came despite the appointment of a new CEO, George Haggar, in November, and last-minute efforts to strengthen the board by recruiting new directors. Just over a year after the dried fruit company came to the stock market, there has been a clean sweep of both board and senior executive positions.
The Punter first bought shares in MRG at the end of November, largely because of the appointment of Haggar, the former chief operating officer of the successful Costa fresh fruit and vegetable group (CGC).
Having looked at the CVs of the new directors, and what Haggar seems to have achieved in two months, the Punter has decided to double his stake in the company.
The new chairman is Andrew Monk, chair of Australian Organic, who has spent much of his career owning or managing businesses in horticulture, food processing and waste management. More directors are expected to be appointed, but for now Monk is joined by Steven Si, chairman and managing director of the Shanghai Yi Yuan manufacturing and distribution group. The third director is Keith Mentiplay, who has worked for the likes of National Foods and Nestle.
Haggar is to give a full report of his first 100 days at the end of the month but in an update last week he warned that stocktaking and inventory control has been even worse than thought. A further $4 million needs to be written off, in addition to a $4.3m shortfall already identified.
The Punter has bought an additional 5,000 shares at 38c, bringing the average cost of his holding down to 41.9c. When the shares were first offered to the public just over a year ago, they were priced at $1.36.
- The Punter has no financial qualifications and no links to the financial services industry. He owns shares in a number of companies featured in this column.