"Premier Investments should be ashamed": Myer finally breaks its silence

19 November 2018, Written by David Simmons

"Premier Investments should be ashamed": Myer finally breaks its silence

After a few weeks of Premier Investments chairman Solomon Lew berating Myer (ASX: MYR) for its poor performance the department store has broken its silence.

As part of its letter to its shareholders urging voters to side with the retailer over Lew, the department store chain has finally spat some venom Lew's way.

Chairman of Myer Garry Hounsell (pictured) labelled Lew and Premier Investments as "destabilising", "grossly misleading" and "hostile" in response to the prolonged attack conducted by Lew.

Naturally, Hounsell encouraged shareholders to vote against a second strike against Myer, which if otherwise approved would mean shareholders would get the opportunity to spill the board.

The chairman also reiterated the apparent successes the company has had under his leadership and the new appointments overseen by him.

Hounsell's message appears to be that the company cannot get back into a position of strength without a degree of stability.

Referencing the new directorial appointments that he has overseen, the slashing of chairman and director's fees, and Myer's new 'Customer First Plan', Hounsell believes he has the Myer ship set on course.

Interestingly, Hounsell does not make any mention of the company's relationship with its banks (a point Lew has been making for a number of weeks now).

Hounsell took today's opportunity to address the "ongoing hostile campaign" spearheaded by Myer's largest shareholder: Premier Investments.

Hounsell says he believes Lew is attempting to enforce a coup of the company's board.

"I must now address the grossly misleading and inflammatory letters that Premier Investments continues to send Myer's shareholders," says Hounsell.

"One can only assume that they are trying to take control of Myer under the guise of seeking and 'independent board'."

"As we approach our important Christmas trading period, it is critical that we apply 100% of our focus and energy on our customers. It is for this reason that we are extremely disappointed by the actions of Premier Investments and their ongoing hostile campaign directed to shareholders via the media, which is designed to benefit them and them only."

"Premier Investments should be ashamed of this."

Hounsell's main point of criticism is that Lew and Premier Investments have not offered any solutions to Myer's problems nor put forward a nominee for a directorial position.

As such, Lew has urged shareholders to ignore Premier's proxy form that it has been mailing to shareholders, and instead vote in line with Myer's proxy form.

This afternoon's statement from Myer comes shortly after a leaked Q1 FY19 results document was leaked to the Australian Financial Review on Friday.

This was addressed briefly by Myer late Friday afternoon and again in today's letter to shareholders. Hounsell says that total sales in Q1 FY19 was below Q1 FY18, but the NPAT loss for Q1 FY19 showed an improvement on last year.

Shares in Myer have dived 9.56 per cent today down to $0.41 per share at 3.37pm AEDT.

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Business News Australia

Author: David Simmons





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