A success for small shareholders was among our many Discussion Boards topics this week.
The back-scratching old boys' networks that have helped keep boardroom pay high, prevent small shareholders from having their fair say in the companies they own, and have essentially allowed boards of directors to manage their charges to suit themselves, have been a blight on the investment industry for generations.
But with the power of internet communications, and the backing of noble organisations like ShareSoc, the UK Individual Shareholders Society, things are changing, as Carmensfella reported this week, on the Paulypilot's Pub - Share Ideas board...
"Well done ShareSoc and all the minority shareholders who are battling away for their rights at Lees Foods (LSE: LEE). The company has just announced a very significant change to the process of trying to do an MBO of the company via a scheme of arrangement (SoA) without providing satisfactory financial information to shareholders [...]
Now we just have the matter of continuing our battle against this extremely lowball offer and defeating the SoA. Make no mistake ShareSoc will do everything possible to support the minority shareholders as they feel that there are a number of issues that have been raised here that will demand further investigation, not just to satisfy LEE shareholders but also protect investors in other listed companies large and small."
You'll need to read the whole thing to get all the details. But it's nice work from ShareSoc, and from Carmensfella.
The Dubious Dividend
Regular contributor to the High Yield - HYP Practical board, Luniversal, was in a literary mood this week, contemplating the sometimes elusive nature of dividends...
"It was in the wretchedly wet spring of 2012 that one morning after breakfast, my friend Mr Sherlock Holmes, lighting his calabash by an equally smoky fire, was seized with fou rire as he watched me angrily shake the electrical tablet in my hands.
'You evidently have learned of the delinquency of Messrs Home Retail,' he observed. 'My warning went unheeded; but when a security, so called, promises a return of ten per centum for months and there are few takers, the betrayal of the promise is almost assured.'
'I thought to buy for a rise if the directors had mercy and only reduced the dividend,' I answered with some bitterness. 'My wound pension will have to be wagered on Silver Blaze and other nobler beasts than brokers. I will not dally among the top hats of the City any more.'"
You just have to read it. Oh, and you'll get a look at some of the biggest dividends on the market, too.
With the debt management policies of the southern Eurozone states having plunged the whole endeavour into chaos, it's only been the solid economic policies of Germany and France that have held the whole thing together. But at Bert's Investor Sanctuary, BrusselsLad reflects on the French presidential election and wonders how long that can last...
"Now Hollande has been full of how he does not care about the markets and will follow his own programme without being influenced by what they tell him. He seems naively independent which matches well the French psyche. Just as an aside, his programme is so full of inconsistencies it is impossible to really understand what he would do. Listening to him explaining it is very amusing if it were not so serious. Nowhere does he give a serious explanation of how he will reduce debt other than to tax the rich and the banks more. When presented with figures last night comparing the average wage in Germany and France (and Belgium which is even worse) his answer was of course to improve productivity to make up the difference - because he can't talk about reducing wages."
He has far more to say, and it's thought-provoking stuff.
We've had a very lengthy discussion of gas and oil exploration around the Falklands this week, on the Oil & Gas - Companies board. There have been some important discoveries of late, and the whole region is getting politically agitated again, so times are becoming interesting for investors in the handful of explorers drilling in the South Atlantic. SirLurkalot gets the ball rolling...
"I believe that the scale of currently undrilled Falklands prospects is comparable to recent discoveries off Tanzania and Mozambique, and I'd prefer to finance a land LNG development on the Falklands islands than onshore in East Africa. NB are the permanent employment needs of a LNG development more than the permanent population of the Falklands could supply? How would O&G facilities on the south coast of East Falkland compare to Sullom Voe?
Major oil companies involvement in offshore East Africa but not Falklands is explained by the availability of licences off East Africa in recent years, whilst the Falklands licences have been owned by small UK companies for many years."
There's a lot of deep technical stuff in the thread, but if you're a keen investor in this kind of thing, no doubt you'll understand what it all means.
With news having gone quiet on the hunt for the Higgs Boson, squiffs has been trying to track it down, over at Jokers Corner. (But before you click the link, do try to remember what his jokes are usually like!)
Last week's roundup: New ISA Season
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.