The board of Craven Cattle Marts has gained massive shareholder approval for a move designed to protect the company’s 5%maximum share ownership rule.

Voting at an extraordinary general meeting held in Skipton was 86% in favour of a resolution that gives the directors extra powers to refuse to register share transactions.

CCM chairman, Anthony Dean, said that unusual share movements over the last few months had raised the threat of people buying into the company with a view to developing the 28-acre Skipton market site for other purposes.

Core business

He said the EGM vote would enable the company to police the 5% rule better and would ensure that the livestock market would remain CCM’s core business for the foreseeable future, as it always has been.

“The level of support has been tremendous. There are 66,000 shares in the business and 59,062 have been voted. It shows how seriously our shareholders in the Craven area have taken the possible threat to the future of their market.”

CCM tried unsuccessfully at its AGM in May to change its Articles of Association to underpin the 5% rule, but fell just short of the required 75% majority.

‘Continued threat’

Leeds stockbrokers, Fyshe Horton Finney, then tabled an offer for 10,000 shares at £45 each.

“Because of the continued threat to the 5% rule we called the EGM to address the problem,” added Mr Dean.

“We faced a situation where unknown third parties were attempting to gain control of 15% of the company and we were naturally suspicious about their motives, which they refused to declare.

Strong profits

“Strengthening the rule will keep us firmly based in the local community and ensure that no individual or group can adversely influence the future of the livestock market.”

He said shares had recently traded at £54 and that CCM had a strong set of accounts with profits rising to £167,459 in the latest financial year.