The Evolution of an Irish Multinational
Author: Kennelly, James J.
Source: North America Case Research Association, Case Research Journal, Spring, 2000
Company Name: The Kerry Group
Number of pages: 26
Kerry Group plc was founded as a farmers' cooperative in 1974. Even after Kerry Group went public in 1986, the original cooperative (and its farmer-shareholders) retained control of the corporation with 51 percent of the shares. Now the farmers are being asked to further lower their shareholding in Kerry Group. Based on a proposal that will be voted on today at an extraordinary general meeting of the cooperative, the co-op shareholding would be immediately reduced to 39 percent, with a further dilution to 20 percent. The incentives for individual farmers for voting "yes" are substantial, but critics of the proposal have been campaigning for weeks on the issue of "farmer control", arguing that selling off the majority shareholding would be a repudiation of the "cooperative principles" on which the enterprise, founded by farmers, had been based. The critics need at least 25 percent of the cooperative shareholders to vote "no" today to derail the proposal.