Mackay Sugar.
Mackay Sugar. Lee Constable

Sugar shareholders debate about directors


IN accordance with Section 249D of the Corporations Act 2001, a General Meeting for all shareholders was held today, Monday 16 February 2015 to vote on a resolution calling for the resignation of two Grower Directors, Mr Andrew Cappello and Mr Sydney Gordon.

A poll was held and this resolution was defeated 263 votes to 400.



AFTER three hours, frustrated Mackay Sugar shareholders last night had still not voted on whether or not to oust two directors.

"It won't make any difference either way" some of about 600 cane farmers at the MECC to vote on the resolution said.

A petition calling for board chairman Andrew Cappello and director Sydney Gordon to resign had more than 400 signatures.

The two are the focus of the anger and frustration felt by growers about not enough expenditure going into mill maintenance after costly breakages caused milling delays during the 2014 crush.

There are two distinct factions. Frustrated traditional growers like Joe and Doris Vella want the two directors to go, while others, after listening to the seven Mackay Sugar directors speak, acknowledged the existing board did have a plan.

Conflicting issues are that the company's three mills are rundown and need money spent while the current board is instead moving to diversify assets into other areas.

Traditionalists want Mackay Sugar to focus on its core assets.

Some want to see the return of former director Eddie Westcott to take on Mr Cappello's position.

"Farmers are sick of it. Something has to happen," Mr Vella said, making no secret that he wants a board change.

"We (Mackay Sugar) now have a lot of debt. But it's hard to tell which way the vote will go."

Other growers, who did not want to be named, said a change to the board would not make any difference because Mackay Sugar still only had limited resources.

"I'd back the board, "said one unnamed grower.

"But they have got to prioritise mill maintenance. I'm cranky that they pay their top executives over $300,000 each.

"The board explained its plan that it wants to diversify while a lot of the old growers want it to stay with the core business and make major improvements."