Ascom shareholders support single share structure

Shareholders of the telecommunications equipment group, Ascom, have voted in favour of a single share structure, at an extraordinary general meeting convened in Berne.

This content was published on September 15, 2000 - 13:45

Only four months after decisively rejecting the change, shareholders on Friday voted by a 90 per cent majority for the proposal.

The idea had been put forward by the financier, Ernst Müller-Möhl, who died in a plane crash in May, and the issue was pursued by his heirs. Müller-Möhl controlled almost 20 per cent of the share capital and had been a member of the board for a year.

The financier argued that the move would make capital increases simpler and provide more transparency.

It met with stiff resistance from Ascom's main shareholder, the Hasler Foundation, which held 22 per cent of the equity but over 54 per cent of votes. However, Friday's vote had been expected after the two rival groups settled their differences last week.

Under the new share structure, the Hasler Foundation becomes the second largest shareholder in Ascom.

At the extraordinary general meeting, an Ascom employee expressed concern at the change and about the policies to be pursued by Müller-Möhl's heirs.

He said the employees would keep a close watch on the management's moves, and would resist any attempts to move the emphasis from the long-term wellbeing of the company to quick profit-making.

The company's chairman, Fred Rüssli, sought to calm fears, claiming that "Ascom is the winner". He said the single share structure would make it easier to raise capital, which would shortly be necessary.

Shareholders also elected 41-year-old Peter Wick as the representative of the Müller-Möhl family, to replace the late financier.

swissinfo with agencies

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