The PLC AGM is the one time of the year where ordinary shareholders, like us Trust members, get the chance to question the directors and officers of Celtic face-to-face about their performance in front of the media. Ahead of this year’s AGM, we thought members would like to know more about the process and the Trust activities surrounding it.
Despite what some football supporters believe, there is no difference between the company (Celtic PLC) and the football club we all support. It operates like any other business in the UK. It has to provide a set of financial accounts and it legally must hold an Annual General Meeting every year.
This is when you as shareholder supporter get the opportunity to question the board about its business activities and to submit resolutions. You can also attend the AGM in person. If an AGM is not held, there can be potential legal consequences.
Celtic normally publish their Annual Report which includes the Annual Accounts around the end of October [at the time of writing Annual Report just published 21 September].
The AGM then follows with last year’s taking place at Parkhead on the 14 December. (Last year – because of Covid restrictions, a virtual AGM took place with no members present and all voting was carried online by proxy vote).
Key dates calendar (based on last year)
- 30 Jun – Accounts covered the annual period to 30 June
- 30 Jul – Celtic go out of the Champions League to small club from edge of Europe/Asia
- 31 Oct – PLC publishes its Annual Report and Annual Accounts.
- 12 Nov– Club writes to shareholders with details and date of AGM
- 10 Dec – Closing date for Resolutions
- 14 Dec – AGM takes place
The AGM is the main platform for our company (Celtic) to present your financial statements (accounts) to us shareholders (members). The key objective is to give shareholders a chance to analyse the business’s performance and its future strategy.
It is normally covered live by the football press and Celtic website has a dedicated page showing the results of previous AGM. Follow this link.
PLC AGM 2021
This year the Trust will be submitting at least two resolutions to be voted on. The Trust needs to gather at least 100 signatures from other shareholders to be included on the agenda. One of benefits of being a Celtic Trust member is that members can propose a resolution via the Trust at it’s regular meetings and the Trust is well placed to ensure the proposal meets all the legal and logistical requirements to published on the AGM agenda.
Of course, with around 100 million shares in Celtic and Dermot Desmond holding one third of those, AGM votes are rarely an upset by ordinary fans and shareholders. But that is not the main takeaway point. It is a barometer supporter and shareholder feeling or anger. That is often what the external media are generally there to make their headlines around.
If anyone remembers the 2017 Rangers AGM which provoked the headline, now is the winter of our discount tent.
But our campaigning is not helped by the fact that very few ordinary shareholders use their vote. Only around 2000 out of 27,000 cast their vote at a club AGM. But the Trust has plans to improve our voice and ‘get the vote out’.
Building on events last year, there will be an AGM awareness campaign being rolled out in the run up to the voting deadlines. Through social media and other fan organisations the aim is to alert shareholders to our resolutions, encourage them to support our campaigns and proxy their vote to the Trust on an ongoing basis.
The Trust has been working on a range of initiatives over the past couple of years to unite fans and shares. It was the Trust which pushed Celtic PLC to produce a special section on the club website with help and advice for shareholders. Follow this link.
Launched earlier this year, the FAQ page allows fans to manage their shareholding, update their details or reconnect shares where they have been inherited.
The Trust has also launched a drive to reach 5% shareholding. The Trust uses members subscriptions to buy Celtic shares on the open market. We currently hold around 50,000 shares, though this amounts to less than 0.5% of the total.
Since the beginning of 2021, the Trust shareholding committee has been analysing the public share register. Our experts have identified around 12,000 individuals with shares. The register lists names and addresses. The Trust is now looking to raise funds to contact a segment of these (this can only be done by post) to reconnect shares and shareholders. This significant group, owning between 500 and 50,000 shares – a sizeable 17% of the total.
Support from this group would propel the Trust to the third largest shareholding bloc in the club. Also anything above 5% would give the Trust a greater campaigning voice in the PLC generally with the right to call Extraordinary General Meetings and submit resolutions for discussions at directors meetings.
Final preparations for the PLC AGM will be made at the next members meeting on Tuesday 26 October. Please make sure your share registration is up to date by checking your details on the Computershare website and by registering them on the Celtic Trust share portal. You can also encourage fellow fans, who may not be members, to proxy their vote to the Trust. (This does not affect their share ownership which they still retain).