Department store Beales has angered its largest shareholder Panther Securities by removing the property firm’s representative from its board.
Panther Securities, which along with related parties hold a 29.72% share in the business, owns the majority of its trading space and provides a £1m loan to the department store, said it was “disappointed that the board of Beales unilaterally decided to remove” its representative, non independent non-executive director Simon Peters, its board.
Panther chairman Andrew Perloff said: “I have long held the view that: 1) It is foolish to upset your landlord. 2) It is foolish to upset those that provide you with finance. 3) It is foolish for a quoted company to upset its largest shareholder. 4) It is foolish to sack a director who is knowledgeable, well connected and who does not charge a salary or any expenses.
“In one fell swoop Beales has managed all of these, which must be some type of record. It is hard to understand their logic.”
Panther owns 11 of Beales department stores totalling 560,000 sq ft, 58% of the space that the department store trades from, and pointed out that six of the leases are based on “a very tenant-favourable profit share”.
It is understood that the fall out stems from proposed changes to property terms, although it is believed there has been conflict between the pair in the past with Panther understood to have refused to vote on bonuses for key Beales directors at last year’s AGM.
Although Panther said that it and its related parties will continue to support Beales “while it is conducive to do so”, Perloff told Retail Week it would not be as willing to help the retailer than it has been historically.
He said: “We’ve always been very helpful and have given them a degree of concession that we might not have done to others. If they needed any short term money we’ve always let them know we’re happy to help them out. I’m not sure we would do that now.”
Parties related to Panther own £7m of preference shares in Beales and provide the department stores with a £1m loan.
Beales said that directors of the company had exercised their powers to remove Simon Peters as non-independent, non-executive director with immediate effect after it decided that there was “no longer a necessity for a Panther representative on the board of Beales”.