BY GAVIN LUMSDEN, Investment Trust Insider, 28 Feb 2023:
A majority of proxy votes have gone against Aquila Energy Efficiency Trust (AEET) which looks to fail its continuation vote today.
Shares in the £70m renewables fund jumped 6.5% yesterday afternoon, narrowing its wide discount to 19%, after the company announced that 55.6% of votes cast before today’s general meeting had come in against continuation. They added another 2% to 78.5p today.
The vote needs at least 50% of votes to pass.
A second resolution to amend the articles and the timing of future continuation votes, which the board also recommended shareholders vote for, also looks likely to fail with 40.5% of proxy votes against. It requires a 75% threshold to pass.
‘Should the resolutions not pass at the general meeting, as currently indicated by the proxy votes cast, the board of the company will consult with shareholders over proposals for the future of the company, with further announcements to be made in due course,’ AEET said.
James Carthew, head of research at QuotedData who had recommended shareholders vote against continuation, said: ‘The next step should be to find a merger partner we think. The obvious candidate is SDCL Energy Efficiency (SEIT), but it is trading on a discount of 13.5%. That discount has widened steadily since early December 2022, for no good reason that we can fathom.
‘However, that should not necessarily be a barrier to a merger. Neither should AEET’s portfolio – which may not all fit SDCL’s investment style – issuing C shares, as JPMorgan Global Growth and Income did in the acquisition of JPMorgan Elect Managed Growth, while the portfolio is sorted out, gets around the problem.
‘Including a cash exit opportunity for those that desire it would help address the discount issue.’
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