The Company only has Ordinary Shares in issue. The Articles also provide for sterling preference shares of £100 each, dollar preference shares of US$100 each, dollar preference shares of US$0.25 each, euro preference shares of €100 each and yen preference shares of ¥10,000 each (together, the Preference Shares). In accordance with the authority granted at the AGM, Preference Shares may be issued by the Board from time to time in one or more series with such rights and subject to such restrictions and limitations as the Board may determine. No Preference Shares have been issued to date. The Articles contain provisions to the following effect:
Subject to the provisions of the Articles and applicable legislation, the Company in General Meeting may declare dividends on the Ordinary Shares by ordinary resolution, but such dividend may not exceed the amount recommended by the Board. The Board may also pay interim or final dividends if it appears they are justified by the Company’s financial position.
Each Preference Share confers the right to a non-cumulative preferential dividend (Preference Dividend) payable in such currency at such rates (whether fixed or calculated by reference to or in accordance with a specified procedure or mechanism), on such dates and on such other terms as may be determined by the Board prior to allotment thereof.
The Preference Shares rank in regard to payment of dividend in priority to the holders of Ordinary Shares and any other class of shares in the Company ranking junior to the Preference Shares.
Dividends may be paid on the Preference Shares if, in the opinion of the Board, the Company has sufficient distributable profits, after payment in full or the setting aside of a sum to provide for all dividends payable on (or in the case of shares carrying a cumulative right to dividends, before) the relevant dividend payment date on any class of shares in the Company ranking pari passu with or in priority to the relevant series of Preference Shares as regards participation in the profits of the Company.
If the Board considers that the distributable profits of the Company available for distribution are insufficient to cover the payment in full of Preference Dividends, Preference Dividends shall be paid to the extent of the distributable profits on a pro rata basis.
Notwithstanding the above, the Board may, at its absolute discretion, determine that any Preference Dividend which would otherwise be payable may either not be payable at all or only payable in part.
If any Preference Dividend on a series of Preference Shares is not paid, or is only paid in part, for the reasons described above, holders of Preference Shares will not have a claim in respect of such non-payment.
If any dividend on a series of Preference Shares is not paid in full on the relevant dividend payment date, a dividend restriction shall apply. The dividend restriction means that, subject to certain exceptions, neither the Company nor Barclays Bank may (a) pay a dividend on, or (b) redeem, purchase, reduce or otherwise acquire, any of their respective ordinary shares, other preference shares or other share capital ranking equal or junior to the relevant series of Preference Shares until the earlier of such time as the Company next pays in full a dividend on the relevant series of Preference Shares or the date on which all of the relevant series of Preference Shares are redeemed.
All unclaimed dividends payable in respect of any share may be invested or otherwise made use of by the Board for the benefit of the Company until claimed. If a dividend is not claimed after 12 years of it becoming payable, it is forfeited and reverts to the Company.
The Board may (although it currently does not), with the approval of an ordinary resolution of the Company, offer shareholders the right to choose to receive an allotment of additional fully paid Ordinary Shares instead of cash in respect of all or part of any dividend.
Every member who is present in person or by proxy or represented at any general meeting of the Company, and who is entitled to vote, has one vote on a show of hands (when a proxy is appointed by more than one member, the proxy will have one vote for and one vote against a resolution if he has received instructions to vote for the resolution by one or more members and against the resolution by one or more members). On a poll, every member who is present or represented and who is entitled to vote has one vote for every share held. In the case of joint holders, only the vote of the senior holder (as determined by order in the share register) or his proxy may be counted. If any sum payable remains unpaid in relation to a member’s shareholding, that member is not entitled to vote that share or exercise any other right in relation to a meeting of the Company unless the Board otherwise determine.
If any member, or any other person appearing to be interested in any of the Company’s Ordinary Shares, is served with a notice under Section 793 of the Act and does not supply the Company with the information required in the notice, then the Board, in its absolute discretion, may direct that that member shall not be entitled to attend or vote at any meeting of the Company. The Board may further direct that if the shares of the defaulting member represent 0.25% or more of the issued shares of the relevant class, that dividends or other monies payable on those shares shall be retained by the Company until the direction ceases to have effect and that no transfer of those shares shall be registered (other than certain specified ‘excepted transfers’). A direction ceases to have effect seven days after the Company has received the information requested, or when the Company is notified that an ‘excepted transfer’ of all of the relevant shares to a third party has occurred, or as the Board otherwise determines.
Ordinary Shares may be held in either certificated or uncertificated form. Certificated Ordinary Shares shall be transferred in writing in any usual or other form approved by the Board and executed by or on behalf of the transferor. Transfers of uncertificated Ordinary Shares shall be made in accordance with the Act and Uncertificated Securities Regulations.
The Board is not bound to register a transfer of partly paid Ordinary Shares, or fully paid shares in exceptional circumstances approved by the FSA. The Board may also decline to register an instrument of transfer of certificated Ordinary Shares unless it is duly stamped and deposited at the prescribed place and accompanied by the share certificate(s) and such other evidence as reasonably required by the Board to evidence right to transfer, it is in respect of one class of shares only, and it is in favour of not more than four transferees (except in the case of executors or trustees of a member).
Preference Shares may be represented by share warrants to bearer or be in registered form.
Preference Shares represented by share warrants to bearer are transferred by delivery of the relevant warrant. Preference Shares in registered form shall be transferred in writing in any usual or other form approved by the Board and executed by or on behalf of the transferor. The Company’s registrar shall register such transfers of Preference Shares in registered form by making the appropriate entries in the register of Preference Shares.
Each Preference Share shall confer, in the event of a winding up or any return of capital by reduction of capital (other than, unless otherwise provided by their terms of issue, a redemption or purchase by the Company of any of its issued shares, or a reduction of share capital), the right to receive out of the surplus assets of the Company available for distribution amongst the members and in priority to the holders of the Ordinary Shares and any other shares in the Company ranking junior to the relevant series of Preference Shares and pari passu with any other class of Preference Shares, repayment of the amount paid up or treated as paid up in respect of the nominal value of the Preference Share together with any premium which was paid or treated as paid when the Preference Share was issued in addition to an amount equal to accrued and unpaid dividends.
(iv) Redemption and Purchase
Subject to applicable legislation and the rights of the other shareholders, any share may be issued on terms that it is, at the option of the Company or the holder of such share, redeemable. The Directors are authorised to determine the terms, conditions and manner of redemption of any such shares under the Articles. While the Company currently has no redeemable shares in issue, any series of Preference Shares issued in the future will be redeemable, in whole or in part, at the option of the Company on a date not less than five years after the date on which such series of Preference Shares was first issued. Note that under the Companies Act 1985, in addition to obtaining shareholder approval, companies required specific enabling provisions in their articles to purchase their own shares. Following implementation of the Act, this enabling provision is now included in the Act and is therefore no longer included in the Articles. Shareholder approval is still required under the Act in order to purchase shares.
(v) Calls on capital
The Directors may make calls upon the members in respect of any monies unpaid on their shares. A person upon whom a call is made remains liable even if the shares in respect of which the call is made have been transferred. Interest will be chargeable on any unpaid amount called at a rate determined by the Board (of not more than 20% per annum).
If a member fails to pay any call in full (following notice from the Board that such failure will result in forfeiture of the relevant shares), such shares (including any dividends declared but not paid) may be forfeited by a resolution of the Board, and will become the property of the Company. Forfeiture shall not absolve a previous member for amounts payable by him/her (which may continue to accrue interest).
The Company also has a lien over all partly paid shares of the Company for all monies payable or called on that share and over the debts and liabilities of a member to the Company. If any monies which are the subject of the lien remain unpaid after a notice from the Board demanding payment, the Company may sell such shares.
(vi) Variation of Rights
The rights attached to any class of shares may be varied either with the consent in writing of the holders of at least 75% in nominal value of the issued shares of that class or with the sanction of special resolution passed at a separate meeting of the holders of the shares of that class.
The rights of shares shall not (unless expressly provided by the rights attached to such shares) be deemed varied by the creation of further shares ranking equally with them.