Why is imutual a PLC rather than a co-operative?

Firstly, any company that offers shares to the public MUST, by law, be a plc rather than a limited company. This also makes us fully accountable to our members, as we are required to hold an AGM each year and to present audited accounts.

There are other possible legal structures, such as cooperatives and community interest companies, but these have to operate within strict guidelines. In particular, the issuing of free shares (in variable amounts) could be problematic as a 'mutual / co-operative' which generally operate on a one-share-per member basis, and would require us to take expensive legal advice. In general, plc status gives us the freedom to operate our free share offer in an efficient manner and in the best interests of our members.

Additionally, we do not rule out seeking a stockmarket listing at some future point and would need plc status in order to do so.

The main reason is that, while we operate a very mutual ethos, we are unashamedly a commercial company that wants to maximise the benefits for our customers; which includes the possibility of being bought by another company if our members choose to do so.

For the above reasons, we consider that plc status is by far the most appropriate legal form for imutual - the PLC with TLC!

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