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Appeals court to allow MGP stockholders meeting

Published on -10/18/2013, 1:47 PM

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ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) -- The fractured board of directors of MGP Ingredients in Atchison can hold a long-delayed stockholders meeting, which had been put off by a fight over the company's future, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled.

The appeals court this week lifted a stay it had placed on the stockholders meeting in August. The meeting will be allowed as of Tuesday, although no meeting has been scheduled, The Atchison Globe reported. The court did not set a deadline for scheduling the meeting.

Six MGP board members and the company's President and CEO, Tim Newkirk, are trying to sell at least part of the company. Two other board members, Cloud Cray Jr. and Karen Seaberg, who have ties to the company's founders, want to remove Newkirk and replace two board members.

Cray and Seaberg represent the Cray Voting Trust, which has more than 90 percent of preferred stock and almost 30 percent of common stock. That faction has started a proxy fight with the other six board members. They contend selling the company, or part of the company, would not be in stockholders' best interest.

A previous meeting scheduled for May 23 was adjourned for lack of a quorum. Atchison County District Court Judge Robert Bednar's ruled in July that the company must schedule a board meeting and it was set for Aug. 23. The stay was granted on Aug. 22 so the appeals court could review the case.

In unofficial results before the scheduled August meeting, nearly 80 percent of common stockholders supported the Cray Group on most issues, including the replacement of board chairman John Speirs. The stockholders can't officially vote until a meeting is held.

MGP Ingredients produces specialty wheat proteins and starches for food and other applications, along with distillery products such as food-grade alcohol.

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