Express & Star

West Brom provide answers to shareholder questions including governance and AGM update

Albion's ownership group Bilkul Football WBA plan to appoint further directors to aid the running of the club "in due course".


The club have also confirmed, on behalf of owner and chairman Shilen Patel, that annual general meetings with minority shareholders will return having been abolished by former owner Jeremy Peace.

In a letter to minority shareholders, seen by the Express & Star, Albion provided answers to 17 questions submitted by Shareholders For Albion (S4A) based on the accounts to June 30 2023 for both the club and West Bromwich Albion Group, which is the Baggies' parent company purchased by Patel and his father Dr Kiran Patel this year.

The document featured a range of queries supplied by S4A members, around 430 individuals who collectively hold the remaining 12.2 per cent of Group. They included points on remuneration and other finance as well as governance and logistical issues.

The group, which is chaired by Leigh Kent, stated: "S4A is delighted with the outcome of a takeover by Bilkul. We look forward to meeting Shilen Patel at the earliest convenient opportunity for him, appreciating the demands faced at this time.

"We consider that the cub is now in safe hands and, like all other West Bromwich Albion supporters, we look forward to the years ahead with optimism."

Patel and managing director Mark Miles currently sit on the club's board of directors, while the owner is the sole board member at Group level, a subject raised by some minority shareholders as potentially 'not healthy governance'.

The club stated an appointment of a sole director of WBA Group was signed off by auditors Azets in accordance of UK accounting and financial standards, before adding "the above said, it is acknowledged that it is best practice and good governance to have more than one director of a company. It is planned that further director(s) will be appointed in due course."

Patel was seen with associates at Albion matches last season.

It was also confirmed AGMs will be reinstated. They were moved by Peace from The Hawthorns to London before being abolished by the former owner but minority shareholders have called for their return for transparency reasons. There will be no 2024 AGM and that answers provided operate as this year's meeting.

S4A also noted its satisfaction at the swiftness and transparency of Albion's responses to the 17 questions, which is at some odds to when previous sole Group director, Xu Ke, was asked 38 questions by concerned stakeholders in 2023.

Minority shareholders are yet to meet Florida-based Patel, who came to the country for several Championship fixtures between February and May, though there is a will from the owner to engage at the earliest possible convenience.

Patel vowed his takeover he is looking forward to open dialogue with fans and all club stakeholders. The chairman released an open letter to supporters on a range of club topics, including on the transfer window and other issues relating to financial fair play, earlier in June.

S4A's summer forum, a first meeting for some time, will take place on July 11 at The Hawthorns. The event is not an AGM but will be an opportunity to meet and question MD Miles and director of communications Ian Skidmore.

Chairman Kent, in his letter to members, said there is still "no substantive update" in the ongoing independent King's Counsel probe into the historic 2014 loan from the club to former owner Peace's WBA Holdings. The loan was £3.7million and accrued interest of £1.6m as of June 30 2023.

The investigation, launched in December 2022, was initially said to take up to six months to complete, but is yet to reach an outcome. The club confirmed it will release a statement upon its conclusion.