BHETA has announced that it is to call an extraordinary general meeting as a result of growing concern over its pending merger with the BJGF.
The row was sparked by CAT Enterprises managing director Charles Harrison earlier this month, when he told HousewaresLive.net that the British Home Enhancement Trade Association’s link with the British Jewellery, Giftware & Finishing Federation, to form a “super federation”, would be “a disaster”.
Harrison contacted all BHETA housewares members to gain backing for his views, and this week he secured the support required to requisition an EGM at BHETA. Harrison wanted to see BHETA wound up, and new housewares and DIY industry associations formed.
Now, BHETA has issued a statement saying that “as a result of a majority vote taken by the Board, it is to call an EGM on 23 July to debate a resolution in relation to its strategy to collaborate with the BJGFF to form a ‘super federation’.
“A special Board meeting was convened as a result of recent trade press coverage of comments made by BHETA member Charles Harrison of CAT Enterprises.”
In the statement, BHETA president Andrew Weiss says: “Despite the fact that our members were polled last November, which resulted in a 95% vote in support of our initiative, the Board is mindful of the fact that the association exists for the benefit of its members.
“There have been various claims made by Charles Harrison with regard to support for his views from other BHETA members, and whilst the Board will not debate these through the channels of the trade press, they are ready and willing to facilitate any necessary debate through existing procedural processes that are readily available to all members.”
The EGM resolution is: That the company supports the board of directors’ strategy to: 1) outsource the administration of the company’s functions to BJGF for two years; and 2) during that two-year period explore the feasibility of a merger of the company with BJGF, and if the Board of directors thinks fit, to put the merger proposal to the company’s membership for approval.
In an email to BHETA members informing them of the EGM, Weiss said that there “appears be a great deal of mis-information within the public domain about the proposed merger with the BJGFF which is clearly fuelling the debate”.
However, Weiss’ email recognised that Charles Harrison has raised “the required number of members to requisition an EGM to vote to ‘stop the merger and to form separate housewares and DIY associations'”.
The email goes on: “I have taken some legal soundings on the format for ‘splitting’ BHETA into two separate associations. It is complicated, will generate an enormous amount of legal fees, possibly have huge tax implications at a time when the value of our assets are at their lowest.”
Weiss said he hoped that calling an EGM would enable BHETA to “find a way forward to cease this destructive activity”.
Commenting on BHETA’s announcement, Charles Harrison told HousewaresLive.net: “I’m absolutely delighted that the members are going to have the chance to debate and vote on the way forward.”