Belfast Telegraph

Conroy Gold & Natural Resources shareholder slams how board runs gold company

By Fearghal O'Connor

Conroy Gold & Natural Resources is being run in the interest of its board, rather than shareholders, its biggest shareholder has claimed.

Patrick O'Sullivan, who owns just over 27% of shares, is proposing sweeping board changes at Conroy, which hopes to build Ireland's first commercial gold mine. Its excavation sites across Ireland include Clay Lake in Keady, Co Armagh.

Payments to the board - including fees, share options, pension contributions and other compensation - for the seven years to May 2016 totalled €4.1m (£3.6m), were an average of 56% of total operating expenses, said Mr O'Sullivan.

This illustrates how Conroy "is being run in the interests of the board, rather than... shareholders", he said.

The nine-member board is, he added, "oversized, rewards itself handsomely at shareholders' expense, does not meet reasonable corporate-governance standards and has no discernible development plan to crystallise value from its potential assets".

"We are taking action to save the company, to reconstitute the board and to reposition business operations to follow a commercially driven strategy and to enable the company to raise finance on sensible terms, (that are) protective of existing shareholders," O'Sullivan said.

AIM-listed Conroy's shares have tumbled from £11 to below 12p. Mr O'Sullivan wants to cut the board to six, with himself and two UK-based industry experts appointed. Chairman and founder Professor Richard Conroy, who owns 22%, would remain.

The company responded with a stock exchange statement that said Mr O'Sullivan's proposals were not in the best interests of Conroy or its shareholders.

Belfast Telegraph