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THG chief Matthew Moulding relinquishes ‘golden share’ rights to ease governance concerns

THG co-founder and chief executive Matthew Moulding has given up his “golden share” rights in the ecommerce company, which granted him the power to veto any takeover, in an effort to ease investor concerns over governance. 

The decision comes ahead of the group’s annual meeting with shareholders on Wednesday and two years after he first made the promise, as THG seeks a premium listing.

The company, formerly known as The Hut Group, also said non-executive director Iain McDonald would step down from the remuneration committee after shareholder advisers urged investors to vote against his reappointment, warning he was no longer “independent”. 

Separately, it appointed Helen Jones as a non-executive director. She is also the chair of the remuneration committee at Premier Foods, Virgin Wines and Fuller, Smith and Turner.

THG chair Lord Charles Allen said: “This appointment reinforces the board’s commitment to improve its corporate governance and continually enhance its composition.”

The company, which owns websites Lookfantastic and Myprotein, said it had a “strong” second quarter, and reiterated its underlying profit guidance for the year of up to £50mn. In April, it reported a pre-tax loss of £550mn.

It said it expected profit margins in its nutrition division to benefit from a fall in whey costs as the wider group focused on profitability and cash generation.

Shares were up 2.5 per cent, or 1.8p, to 74p, in morning trading, but they are down 90 per cent since it listed on the London stock market in 2020.

Analysts at Barclays welcomed the update: “We take two key positives from the company’s statement today — operational momentum is improving and further steps towards cleaner governance are evident.”

Numis was more bearish saying “the path to break-even profit/cash remains opaque” and “valuation looks out of kilter with peers, but this update looks to be at least be a step in the right direction”.

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