LAVAL, Que. — Convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is winding up its dual-class share structure this week.
The Quebec-based company will convert all of its outstanding class B shares to class A shares on a one-for-one basis as of Wednesday trading, earlier than previously indicated.
A so-called sunset clause was put in place in 1995 to bring an end to the dual-class share structure when the youngest of the company founders turns 65 or dies.
The clause is triggered Wednesday with the birthday of the youngest founder, Jacques D'Amours.
The class A shares owned by the four founders — D'Amours, Alain Bouchard, Richard Fortin and Réal Plourde — carry 10 votes per share while class B shares carry one vote per share.
Bouchard, who is executive chairman of the board, says the four founders will remain directors and closely involved in the organization.
"My commitment and leadership of the business will not change, and I am more confident than ever before that our size, our winning culture and strategy, and the structures that we have put in place, both at the executive management level and from a governance standpoint, will serve the business well," he said in a statement.
The four founders unsuccessfully tried to extend their voting rights in 2016, but a shareholder vote on the proposal was cancelled after they concluded two-thirds support from subordinate shareholders wasn't possible.
The four will still control a sizable number of shares, but no longer have the voting clout to unilaterally block any takeover bids or shareholder actions they dislike.
The issue of multiple-voting shares has come under renewed scrutiny because of the family battle at Rogers Communications Inc. which is controlled by the Rogers family through the company's dual-class share structure.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2021.
Companies in this story: (TSX:ATD.B)
The Canadian Press