What happened at the Appen (ASX:APX) AGM today?

The Appen Ltd (ASX:APX) share price is pushing higher following the release of its AGM update. Here’s what happened…

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The Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) share price is pushing higher on the day of its annual general meeting (AGM).

In afternoon trade, the artificial intelligence (AI) data annotation products and solutions provider’s shares are up 2% to $13.54.

What happened at the AGM?

There were a couple of talking points from Appen’s AGM earlier today. The first was management reaffirming its guidance for FY 2021.

According to the company’s AGM update, Appen has maintained its guidance for underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) guidance. It continues to expect underlying EBITDA of US$83 million to US$90 million this year. This represents constant currency growth of 18% to 28% year on year.

Once again, management advised that its underlying EBITDA is expected to be heavily weighted to the second half. This is due largely to key projects that were delayed in late 2020 returning with a skew to delivery in the second half.

In addition, the first half cost base reflects the full year cost of 2020 hiring and its resource optimisation benefits aren’t expected to flow through until the second half.

What else?

Perhaps the biggest talking point from the Appen AGM was its shareholder vote, and particularly the voting on its remuneration report.

A total of 47.6% of votes were cast against the remuneration report, giving Appen its first strike. If shareholders were to give it a second strike next year, it would result in a board spill.

They also came very close to blocking the granting of performance rights to the company’s CEO, Mark Brayan. Approximately 43.9% of shareholder votes were against the granting of 55,908 performance rights.

With the Appen share price down 70% from its 52-week high, shareholders appear unhappy with the way the company has been run recently and are making this known today.

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Appen Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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