Listening in to the AGM of Bell Equipment last week was a fascinating if somewhat dissonant experience. At times it seemed the shareholders and board were referring to two different companies, so irreconcilable were some of the views being expressed. Both agreed the company produced excellent products and that the past few years had been tough, but the board said this was entirely due to the difficult trading conditions. It was difficult to disagree with this as Bell supplies heavy-duty equipment to the mining, construction and agricultural sectors. Mining and construction have been hard hit in Africa, and particularly in SA, in recent years. Things do look a bit more encouraging in Europe and America.The differences were more distinct when it came to consideration of investments and strategies. The executives seemed adamant their strategies were delivering returns and whatever investments being made were paying off. The few shareholders who had made the effort to participate didn’...

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