The first virtual or online meeting for all Glanbia shareholders takes place today (Thursday) where shareholders have an opportunity to join a webinar to learn about the proposed deal.

Given the projected size of the virtual audience, Glanbia says no engagement will be possible. Next week, Glanbia area representatives and committee members will have the opportunity to engage and ask questions about the deal in further virtual meetings. The fact these meetings are virtual will undoubtedly cause tensions at shareholder level.

Last weekend, anxious shareholders asked repeatedly for a face-to-face meeting with management and Glanbia responded suggesting it would of course facilitate face-to-face- meetings if it was at all possible, COVID-19 permitting, with the safety of shareholders and management a priority.

Late last week, all committee members met online to hear details of the proposed deal. The two key issues that came up in questioning and from shareholders since were the valuation of the company and how that was arrived at. Secondly, the reasoning behind the creation of the investment fund.

The company has valued the stake in the business at €307m with an effective cost to the farmers of €286m after which they will own 100% of the Glanbia Ireland business.

The investment fund is set to allow the farmers invest in other businesses to diversify away from the plc and dairy investment. KPMG says the value established is a multiple of 9.2 times projected 2021 earnings.