The Board of Directors of Guyana Stockfeeds Incorporated (GSI) yesterday said it has not paid some $80M in dividends to shareholders because of a court challenge filed by one of them, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
The company belatedly broke its silence on the situation in light of a January advisory by the Guyana Securities Council (GSC) to shareholders that GSI did not pay dividends for the 2012 financial year as it had publicly stated in its interim report for January to June 2013.
The GSC had further stated that it contacted GSI, informed it that no dividends had been paid, and required the company to correct the report and disseminate the corrected information. When no correction was made, GSC advised shareholders to seek legal advice.
But GSI’s Board of Directors, in a statement, accused the GSC of being “economical with the truth” when it released the stated information to the public.
In the statement, the Board explained that the payments had indeed been approved, after which the funds were deposited into a special account for dissemination. It said, however, that one shareholder–NICIL—had obtained two injunctions ex-parte from the High Court restraining the company from actually disbursing payments to shareholders. The board is therefore saying that the non-payment of dividends is out of respect for the orders of the court.
While no specifics on the injunctions were given, the Board said it has been informed that “one of the injunctions was discharged by the High Court for non-disclosure (concealment of material facts from the court),” while “the Court is yet to rule on the other.”
The statement said that after seeking professional advice, GSI has concluded that its actions are in accordance with acceptable international standards. Pursuant to this advice, GSI said that a letter was written to GSC explaining to it that its assertions were wrong, and requesting that it publicly clarify the situation it caused by disseminating incorrect information.
GSC has failed to do so, the statement said, and the GSI Board said it has no other choice but to repair the damage itself. Its Directors are saying that it is most unfortunate that GSC, as a regulator, is reluctant to admit that it improperly advised the public, and furthermore, that it did not advise stakeholders to check with the company, from whence all of the above information is available.