Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Disgruntled minority shareholders of technology group Cognition have called an extraordinary general meeting to appoint three additional directors who they believe will turn the business around.

This is the second time that shareholders have revolted against the board. According to the shareholders, efforts to engage with the board failed and the company relented to call the meeting only when threatened with court action. The meeting will be held on May 18.

The shareholders, who include Primedia founders the Kirsh family, are unhappy about the performance of the company despite having bought a number of companies in recent years to reposition its business to provide more technology services. Minority shareholders said there had been a destruction of value at the company, with the share price plunging over the past five years.

Trevor Ahier, spokesman for the disgruntled shareholders, said he sold equity in his business BMI Research to Cognition in 2014, settled in part with Cognition shares, issued then at R1.90 per share. He then sold the balance of his equity in 2015, settled in Cognition shares at R2 per share.

"With the share price languishing around 95c per share before our call for the extraordinary general meeting, the destruction of value has been significant," Ahier said.

Other minorities acquired shares in excess of R2 over the years. This, having listed at 50c some 20 years ago, "is a most dismal performance", he said.

"It is patently obvious that management have lost credibility to deliver shareholder value. We’re calling for a representative board to provide corrective leadership to deliver value for shareholders."

The shareholders are supporting the new appointments to "accelerate value delivery for shareholders", said Ahier.

The proposed names of directors are Ahier, Mark Harris and Dennis Lupambo.

mochikot@businesslive.co.za

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