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Sainsbury's in the spotlight

J SAINSBURY is hoping, according to insiders, for a &ldquo;plain old AGM&rdquo; this Wednesday as shareholders gather around chief executive Justin King for the yearly meet.<br /><br />Sainsbury will be hoping the meeting will largely be an opportunity for investors to laud its current trading efforts, which has seen it outperforming rivals. But shareholders may want answers on why it has needed to raise more capital.<br /><br />Last month the supermarket chain said that first-quarter sales increased by 7.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis, far outpacing the 4.3 per cent sales growth seen by larger rival Tesco. <br /><br />But as the City welcomed the new retail star of the downturn, King surprised markets by announcing a &pound;445m opportunist capital raising via a placing of new shares and convertible bonds. King said the money would give the retailer the flexibility to grow &ldquo;further and faster&rdquo; and ideally close the gap on Tesco.<br /><br />Shareholders backed King&rsquo;s plans, but may want a full run-down of what they&rsquo;re getting for their money. Sainsbury aims to open another 50 supermarkets (it currently has 792 outlets) and extend 35 existing stores. <br /><br />Also in the spotlight will be the question of who will succeed departing chairman Sir Philip Hampton. <br /><br />The supermarket is currently fighting over David Tyler, currently chairman of Logica, with Experian after losing high-profile candidate John Pearce to Standard Chartered.