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Vertu follows Lookers in urging shareholders to stay away from AGM

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Vertu Motors has followed fellow AM100 car retail PLC Lookers in urging shareholders to stay away from its upcoming AGM after the stalled easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Earlier this week Lookers issued an update on its plans for its AGM at the Manchester Airport Marriott Hotel, on June 30, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed away from Government’s plan to remove all coronavirus restrictions on June 21 – delaying the move for at least four weeks.

Lookers had said that it was keen for shareholders to attend its AGM and general meeting in person, a month after forecasting a 2021 profit before tax which will “comfortably exceed current market consensus” of £34 million.

Now Vertu Motors has amended its plans for its AGM on June 23.

In a statement issued via the London Stock Exchange this morning (June 18), the group said that it “had hoped to be able to hold our AGM on 23 June as normal, following the expected removal of COVID-19 restrictions in England”. 

But it added: “As we are still subject to Step 3 restrictions, our AGM will proceed, but we strongly discourage shareholders from attending in person.”

Vertu said its directors would attend the AGM to ensure a sufficient quorum for it to proceed, however.

Anyone in attendance will be required to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing and have a temperature check prior to entry, it said. 

Vertu’s changed AGM plans come just a week after suggestions that it could face dissent from its shareholders over plans to issue chief executive Robert Forrester with a bonus worth around £200,000.

The group told AM that executives had waived their entitlement to a bonus but its remuneration committee elected to award reduced bonuses following 'significant progress' by the firm.

But Andrew Speke, of the High Pay Centre, told The Mail on Sunday newspaper it was “absurd” that a six-figure sum should be awarded by a business which had accepted millions of pounds in COVID-19 support from the UK Government.

Vertu claimed £27.8m under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and £8.7m in business rates relief last year – also cutting 345 jobs.

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