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Bleasdale Stakes Claim Over Healthcare Locums plc

Bleasdale Stakes Claim Over Healthcare Locums plc

The Board of HCL has received a letter from solicitors instructed by Kate Bleasdale, the former executive vice chairman of the Company, giving notice of a potential claim pursuant to section 994 of the Companies Act 2006. The letter alleges that Ms Bleasdale's position as a shareholder of HCL has been unfairly prejudiced by virtue of the events that led to the suspension of trading in HCL's shares in January 2011 and the subsequent restructuring in September 2011.

Amongst other things, Ms Bleasdale claims:

1 The Board's decision in January 2011 to suspend trading in the Company's shares was unreasonable and unnecessary.

2 The refinancing plan favoured the larger shareholders at the expense of smaller shareholders.

3 In supporting the refinancing plan, the Board acted unreasonably and contrary to the interests of the Company and, in particular, failed to consider and/or pursue alternative refinancing options.

As a result of these actions, Kate Bleasdale asserts that HCL should purchase her current shareholding at a price of &pound1.12 per share being the share price immediately prior to its suspension in January 2011. The cost of so doing would be approximately &pound2.24 million.

The Board is currently considering the appropriate response with the Company's legal advisors. However, the Board observes:

1 The account set out by the solicitors for Kate Bleasdale is not consistent with the overall findings of the Employment Tribunal that heard her unsuccessful claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistle blowing.

2 The issue of whether there were realistic alternatives to the refinancing proposal was subject to vigorous debate at the General Meeting held on 12 September 2011. Ms Bleasdale and her associates attended that meeting and were given ample opportunity to put forward opposing arguments. Having done so, the shareholders nevertheless voted in favour of the restructuring plan.

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