The group responsible for blocking the proposed merger between Nisa-Today's and Costcutter has refused to bow to calls from Nisa members to disband.

A number of members have told The Grocer that the Nisa Members Association, which was created with the main objective of preventing the merger, should break up now its stated goals had been achieved.

At the same time, Nisa-Today's non-executive president Dudley Ramsden defended the board's handling of the merger talks.

Some members said, in the wake of the deal's collapse, they should have been allowed to vote on the offer before any final decision. But Ramsden told The Grocer: "Shareholders would always have had the final say, but you can't ask 1,000 members to consider every proposal. That's what the board's there to do."

Having blocked the merger, the NMA secured its other main aim of improving corporate governance at the buying group at last month's agm. Two NMA members were appointed to the Nisa-Today's (Holdings) Board. Further member representation should be guaranteed in the new year when the group has proposed a change in its articles of association to create more places on the board.

NMA treasurer and MD of Filco Foods Ian Hunt said it was premature to start talking about a dismantling. The NMA is to hold an egm next month, at which the current committee will step down in order to seek re-election and proposals will be put forward regarding the direction of the NMA.

"We can clearly see the benefits of member participation and providing a direct route into the boardroom," Hunt added.

Autumn of the Patriarch, p28