I “attended” the Annual General Meeting of Porvair Plc (PRV) this morning. This was of course not a conventional meeting with minimal numbers there in person. But there was a telephone conference call before the legal meeting to enable shareholders to ask questions, although there were less than half a dozen investors who chose to dial-in.
The Chairman, John Nicholas, made some brief comments to begin with. He mainly just summarised the recently issued trading statement. But he did say all plants were open and they expected to be modestly cash generative for the balance of the year except in extreme circumstances. There was no AGM statement, so we then went straight into questions.
One investor asked about the impact of the problems in the aviation sector. Answer: too early to say.
I asked about the impact of the oil price decline, which in case you had not noticed briefly went negative yesterday. There was no clear answer to that but their recent acquisition Royal Dahlman obviously might be affected.
I also asked whether they could do something about the extreme volatility of the share price and the wide spread. All shares are volatile of late but Porvair is one of the worst in my portfolio and the spread this morning was 7%. That is unusual for a company of this size. They will talk to their broker Peel Hunt about this.
Another shareholder suggested they should do more to raise awareness of the company and it was admitted that they do not spend much time on promoting the company to investors. It might certainly help liquidity if they did so.
As the AGM itself was done on a poll with all resolutions passed, the “meeting” was over in 15 minutes. However it was still a useful event.
The other AGM held today which I could have attended in normal circumstances was that of Segro (SGRO). That was at exactly the same time as Porvair, but they also did not provide any way for shareholders to attend electronically. Questions could be submitted in writing via email but that is hardly a good alternative. I hope they publish the questions and answers.
Note that ShareSoc have just published a blog post concerning the letter written by ShareAction to FTSE-100 companies complaining about the lack of provision of virtual AGMs this year by many companies. Their complaints are very justified. The technology is simple to use and a simple conference call would suffice for many companies.
Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )
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