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Ascom turns down single share

Ascom chairman, Felix Wittlin, speaking at this year's shareholders meeting in Berne.

(Keystone)

Shareholders of the telecommunications equipment group, Ascom, have decisively turned down a move to introduce a uniform share structure at their annual general meeting in Berne.

After lengthy and at times what was described as "spiteful" debate on Wednesdsay, a majority of 68.5 per cent followed the advice of the board to reject the single share formula.

The proposal had been put forward by the financier, Ernst Müller-Möhl, who died in a plane crash two weeks ago. Müller-Möhl controlled almost 20 per cent of the share capital and had been a member of the board for a year.

The move was aimed at making capital increases simpler and providing more transparency.

The introduction of a single share would have ended control of Ascom by its main shareholder, the Hasler Foundation, which holds an equity stake of 22 per cent but 54.4 per cent of the votes.

The general assembly, which had been the subject of media attention for weeks, was dominated by debate about whether the Hasler Foundation was entitled to use all its voting powers.

Supporters of the single share cited a controversial article in the company statutes limiting the voting power of individual shareholders to three per cent.

swissinfo with agencies

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