Tungsten's share price climbs as board rejects Edi Truell's proposal as "universally without merit for shareholders"

Catherine Neilan
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This is not the first time Truell has made overtures to the company he formerly headed up (Source: Getty)

The board of Tungsten has rejected the latest proposal made by Edi Truell for the company he floated three years ago, saying his plans were "universally without merit for shareholders".

However, Truell told City A.M. he had already been approached by shareholders keen to learn more.

“Several [shareholders] have said they want the option to at least consider it,” Truell said. “The board should not be standing in the way of shareholders with an opportunity to move forward with the business.”

Truell, who has as of today resigned from the board, submitted an outline of a new transaction structure for the touchless invoicing business, which management described as "one of many" he has put forward since he stepped down as chief executive last July.

It emerged yesterday that Truell, an adviser to Boris Johnson, would be making another offer to buy the Tungsten, who counts the likes of Aviva, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline and Kellogg's as clients, although the details of the move were not made clear.

A source close to the deal told City A.M. that there were two offers on the table: one a clear cash offer for 80p a share, and other, in which the business would be consolidated into a larger firm, for 111p a share.

Both offers would represent a huge premium to Tungsten's current share price, which was trading at just under 60p a share at its peak today.

Tungsten Tungsten | mobile image

"Like its predecessors, [this outline] did not involve an offer for Tungsten's shares but instead suggested that Tungsten's network business and the cash it expects to receive from the proposed sale of its bank be combined with certain assets in which he has a majority interest in, including Tantalum," the board said.

"The resulting effect of this conceived combination would be that Tungsten's primary asset would be a minority stake in an enlarged group of disparate, illiquid assets controlled by Mr. Truell and Tungsten itself would be transformed into an investment vehicle."

Noting that Truell left the company "following a very difficult period", the board said it had made "significant progress in addressing the challenges facing Tungsten". It said the strategy as set out on 9 February 2016 "remains the best and most certain path to maximise the creation of shareholder value".

It added: "The board's priority is to oversee the effective execution of this strategy under the leadership of Richard M. Hurwitz, chief executive, and his executive management team; it believes that distractions from that risk destroying value."

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