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Ecotricity founder Dale Vince launches bid to land himself on board of rival Good Energy

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince has launched an audacious attempt to appoint himself and another company representative to the board of rival supplier Good Energy.

In a statement to the market this morning Good Energy confirmed that Ecotricity was attempting to requisition a general meeting to consider the appointment of both Dale Vince and Simon Crowfoot, who leads Ecotricity’s Electric Highway business, to the board as non-executive directors.

The move follows months of speculation that Ecotricity is mulling over a potential takeover of Good Energy having steadily increased its holding in the firm. Over the last year Ecotricity’s stake in Good has risen to more than 25.3%.

Speaking to Clean Energy News earlier this year, Dale Vince said that he had increased Ecotricity’s stake in Good Energy because it “seemed like good value”, describing the fact as being about “putting our money where our hearts are”.

The appointments will be certified if they are backed by more than 50% of available votes, however Good has protested vehemently and attempted to lobby shareholders to vote unanimously against them.

The company said it considered that the appointment of representatives from a rival firm would present “significant conflicts of interest” and that they would “work against the best interests of Good Energy’s shareholders”.

John Maltby, chairman of Good Energy, added: "Having the owner and senior management of a direct competitor on our board would be unworkable. There can be no reasonable expectation that any representative of Ecotricity would put the interests of Good Energy shareholders, customers and other stakeholders before those of Ecotricity.  

“The proposed appointments, if implemented, would significantly curtail the ability of Good Energy's board to operate and consider any commercial matter in a unified way, creating unnecessary administrative, financial and competitive penalties for the company.

“This action by Ecotricity is regrettable and we will be writing to shareholders setting out our position and the importance of voting against Ecotricity's proposal."

Late last month Good’s board was defeated on a number of resolutions at its annual general meeting, most notably the re-appointment of Martin Edwards as a director, something which Maltby said at the time had left the board “very disappointed”.

“We are naturally disappointed that the special resolutions were not passed. The board remains of the view that having the flexibility to issue new shares to customers, in particular, would create additional value for the company and benefit all shareholders,” he said.

While Good Energy and Ecotricity both operate predominantly as renewables utilities, the former has recently been pursuing a new strategy that would see it enter the electric vehicle and battery storage sectors. While Ecotricity has a long-standing interest in the UK's EV infrastructure, it too has eyes on the battery storage market and a domestic product is currently in testing. 

The general meeting is to be called within 21 days of the receipt of the requisition, and must be held no longer than 28 days after that notice has been made.