Woolworths shareholders have overwhelmingly voted in favour of demerging the Endeavour Group comprising the group’s retail segment of 1630 stores, hotels business of 332 venues plus other liquor businesses.
Endeavour Group will now be separately listed on the ASX with Woolworths also continuing as a leading ASX company.
The original intention had been to separate Endeavour late last year, however Woolworths postponed the plans after the pandemic, in order to prioritise its COVID-19 response.
The timetable for the separation outlines that 24 June will be the first date that Woolworths with trade on the ASX under the demerger, with Endeavour shares to commence trading on a conditional basis.
Following that 28 June is outlined as the separation date and Thursday 1 July to be the implementation date with Endeavour shares to start trading normally.
Speaking this morning, ahead of today’s vote Woolworths Chairman, Gordon Cairns said: “The Woolworths Group Board strongly encourages you to support the resolutions put to the meeting today. We believe shareholder value will be enhanced through a greater focus on each business’s core customer offering, unlocking growth opportunities and continuing to benefit from a win-win partnership in areas where it makes sense.
“Woolworths Group will remain Australia and New Zealand’s leading food and everyday needs business and is expected to remain one of the 20 largest ASX-listed companies.
“The simpler and more agile operating model will enable us to grow our food and everyday needs retail ecosystem. Separation will also provide enhanced brand clarity.
“Endeavour Group is equally well positioned for success. As a separately listed entity, Endeavour Group will have a broad mandate for growth. It will be able to pursue its business strategy with flexibility to invest in its best returning opportunities and respond to changing consumer behaviours and industry conditions.”
Cairns also outlined the new board and leadership team for Endeavour, saying: “It will be led by Steve Donohue as CEO, and an experienced management team who have especially proven themselves over the last 12 months.
“We have also put together a first-class board, with the appropriate skills and experience, led by Peter Hearl as Chairman-elect. I have known Peter for many years. He is a proven leader and an experienced public company director currently serving on the boards of Santos and Telstra.
“And finally, Holly Kramer and Bruce Mathieson Sr have been nominated by Woolworths Group and Bruce Mathieson Group respectively, to serve on the Endeavour Group board, reflecting both groups’ material shareholding post demerger.”
Woolworths said that more than 98 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the demerger.