Ticker JDW

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Price Pence
As of 16:57 13 Dec 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
1,691.60 million
As of 16:57 13 Dec 2019

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Wetherspoon result

Tim Martin
Getty Images

Last week Tim Martin, the chairman of pub chain JD Wetherspoon chairman hit out against Britain's corporate governance rules, blaming them for creating "short-termism, inexperience and navel-gazing".

That was ahead of the annual general meeting for shareholders which has taken place and at which investors were also being urged to vote against the annual report over its failure to clear pro-Brexit spending.

In the end nearly 5% of investors voted against the annual report according to the results of the AGM just published.

There were also votes of 20% against directors being re-elected (by the independent shareholders) to the board Debra van Gene and Sir Richard Beckett.

Pirc's response

Tim Martin
Getty Images

Pirc has now issued statement from its boss Alan MacDougall following the criticism from Tim Martin (pictured), chairman of pubs group JD Wetherspoon.

Mr MacDougall says: "We genuinely find what Tim Martin has to say about corporate governance worth listening to (personal attacks aside). You can't work in this field for as long as have without recognising some of the limitations of the looking at companies through a governance framework",

He says that the nine-year rule for non-executive directors, attacked by Mr Martin, was not Pirc's creation. "If Tim Martin was standing as chief executive of JD Wetherspoon the issues around his election would not arise. It's an interesting question how many people would assume he is the chief executive or could name the company's actual chief executive, given the prominent role he plays".

Twitter biogs...

JD Wetherspoon has issued a trading update in which chairman Tim Martin has complained that corporate governance rules are creating "short-termism, inexperience and navel-gazing".

The pub chain boss said the system is "up the spout - and is itself a threat to listed companies - and therefore to the UK economy".

He has also made personal criticisms of Alan MacDougall, who runs shareholder advisory group Pirc, which is urging shareholders to vote against the company's annual report and the re-election of Mr Martin to the board.

Among the criticisms leveled at Mr MacDougall his "questionable personal judgement" and describing himself on his twitter profile as an "ex-Eurocommunist" and "corporate governance expert".

The BBC has approached Pirc for comment but for now Pirc has tweeted the following:

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Wetherspoons margins under pressure

JD Wetherspoon may be attracting plenty of people into its pubs but it's luring them with such cheap prices that its margins have deteriorated. The company is faring a lot better than many of its pub-sector peers and its sales have held up reasonably well in the early part of the new financial year. But the rate of sales growth has slowed, putting more pressure on the company's already-thin margins. A focus on sales, and beefing up market share, could end up paying off should cost pressures ease. We're seeing little sign of that in today's result, with operating costs rising in the second half compared to the first.

Fiona Cincottaanalyst at City Index