A CAMPAIGNING shareholder has renewed his protests over the management of a brewery.

The storm has been building over the Black Sheep Brewery, based in Masham, since last year when shareholder David Nabarro set up a website entitled "Building a better Black Sheep" and claiming the company was “mismanaged”. He has now written a New Year letter to shareholders raising further concerns.

Mr Nabarro, a financial consultant, helped brewer Paul Theakston set up The Black Sheep Brewery as a stand alone company 26 years ago after the original T and R Theakston was taken over. But Mr Nabarro has become increasingly critical of the way the company is run and launched his latest attack with a letter to shareholders on the website claiming the company is heading for another pre-tax loss.

He congratulates the management on the acquisition just before Christmas of another brewery, the York Brewery, which had gone into administration, but says questions should be answered over how much was paid for it and the debt situation. Black Sheep announced in December it had acquired the £2.1m-turnover company and four outlets for an undisclosed sum from the administrators, with 40 jobs transferring over.

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Black Sheep managers have hit back at Mr Nabarro’s criticism, challenging his concerns and saying the company is growing and succeeding, and he should raise his questions at the Annual General Meeting which he had attended last year but said nothing.

In his letter Mr Nabarro says: “Reading between the lines, it looks as though in the current year, Black Sheep is heading for both a reduction in overall margins and yet another significant pre-tax loss and we will all doubtless be encouraged to give this management team yet one more year to perform.

“It remains manifest that we have the wrong executive management team and the wrong board either to guide the good ship Black Sheep forward or communicate effectively with us the shareholders.”

A spokesman for The Black Sheep Brewery said: “Our public statements have been accurate, timely and appropriate. The business is investing, growing and succeeding and we will give all shareholders updates at our established regular intervals throughout the trading year.

“The AGM is the appropriate place for Mr Nabarro to raise specific questions along with other shareholders on an equal footing. Mr Nabarro attended our 2018 meeting but chose not to speak.” It is understood the company has about 1,000 shareholders with a turnover of about £19m. Last year it recorded profits of £260,000 in the latest accounts from a previous loss of £437,000 the year before. The annual meeting is on September 19.