Grand Banks board will remain after shareholders reject proposal

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The Grand Banks Yachts board of directors beat back a challenge by dissident shareholders to replace all four incumbent directors in a so-called “extraordinary general meeting” Oct. 10 under the rules of the Singapore Stock Exchange, where the boatbuilder is listed.

An average 68 percent of voting shareholders cast ballots to retain the current board, which consists of chairman and independent director Heine Askaer-Jensen, independent directors Basil Chan and Jeffrey Stewart Bland, and chief financial officer and executive director Peter Kevin Poli.

An average 32 percent of those voting supported replacing that board with nominees offered by shareholders Peter Cheng Lim Kong and Kwah Yeow Khong. Cheng Lim Kong recently purchased 10 percent of Grand Banks’ stock. Under the exchange’s rules that entitled him to call the meeting and propose the changes. He offered himself as the nominee for new executive director.

“This was a solid vote of confidence in the current leadership,” said David Hensel, Grand Banks’ director of brand and marketing, who spoke with Soundings Trade Only from the company’s Seattle office.

Hensel said 80 million out of a total 125 million Grand Banks shares were voted.

It was never clear exactly what the dissident shareholders wanted other than to “run the company in a better, more profitable way” and “to cut costs,” Hensel said.

Constituted in November 2011, the incumbent board has been drawing up a “road map” to guide the company during the next three to four years in developing new models, new marketing and sales programs, closer customer relations and financial strategies, Hensel said.

“We feel we have a strong team in place and a very strong plan in place,” he said. “We encouraged our shareholders to vote down the [dissidents’] resolutions and give the board the opportunity to move forward.”

Hensel said new models — a 43 Heritage EU, 54 Heritage EU, 55 Eastbay Flybridge and 50 Eastbay with new styling and Volvo Penta pod drives — have been well received even before reaching the market, with preproduction orders. “We feel like we’re on a good track with our new-model development,” he said.

The company also is partnering with Ocean Alexander to sell Grand Banks boats through Ocean Alexander dealerships in Shanghai and Sanya (Hainan province) in China. Grand Banks represents Ocean Alexander at its Gold Coast Australia dealership.

Grand Banks also has opened a dealership in Malaysia, Hensel said.

Grand Banks also made a placement of 19.2 million shares of stock Sept. 17, which were bought by two investors — Exa Limited and Koh Cheng Keong — to raise money to “contribute to the growth and expansion of the company,” according to Grand Banks.

— Jim Flannery

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