Oil+gas Companies, Woodside Energy Voting and Archie Norman’s Mission

Oil and gas companies share prices are rising today after the price of oil rose on news from Saudi Arabia. One such company I hold is Woodside Energy (WDS) and I now have the opportunity to vote at their Annual General Meeting which I have done on-line (difficult to attend the AGM in person as it’s being held in Perth, Australia).

There are a couple of resolutions to amend the constitution and one on “capital protection”. These have clearly been put forward by climate activists as a way to dictate to the management of the company what they should be doing. I voted against both resolutions as I believe managers should manage and not be directed by a small minority of shareholders, or shareholders in general. If shareholders do not like what the company directors are doing they can change them, or sell their shares of course.

I also voted against the two remuneration resolutions without a close examination. Typically too complex and too generous as with most large company schemes.

On the subject of voting at AGMs, Archie Norman, the Chairman of M&S, is leading a campaign for changes to Company Law to better enfranchise shareholders in nominee accounts and improve AGMs. He has written to the Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch asking for changes to improve shareholder democracy.

Hybrid meetings are allowed now but he apparently wants “all digital” ones to be permitted which I suggest is not a good idea. But otherwise he is right that this area of Company Law needs reforming. The Government is well aware of this after campaigns by ShareSoc et al, but action is progressing at a snail’s pace.

You can find more details of Archie Norman’s views and actions on the web.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )

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