Monday, 24 November 2008

Barclays chairman says proxy vote backs fundraising

Agius told shareholders the lender had opted to raise capital from private investors rather than take part in the government's bailout of the banking sector partly because it feared the conditions attached to the bailout might force it to neglect overseas growth.

"As shareholders you will know that the overwhelming majority of the growth in Barclays over the past decade has come from diversifying our earnings base by developing our businesses ... outside the United Kingdom," he said in his EGM speech.

"Taking capital from the UK government, however, would have necessitated many of these activities being given a lower priority, and we did not think this would be in your interests."

The government has said it expects the banks receiving public money -- Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and HBOS -- to help support the flagging the economy by keeping lending availability at 2007 levels.

The government is providing up to 37 billion pounds of cash to the three banks, and will in return receive stakes of up to 57 percent in RBS, and 43 percent in the combined Lloyds


The Middle East investors are set to provide about 5.3 billion pounds of Barclays' total fundraising target.

Top five investor Legal & General last week said it would vote in favour even though it does not like the structure of the controversial deal, as rejection of the deal would lead to a material deterioration in shareholder value.

The Association of British Insurers, which represents a fifth of UK investors, put a rare "red top" warning on the plan, signalling "an issue of grave concern," and told investors to make their own decision on the vote.

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