Toscafund urges Speedy Hire chairman to resign ahead of general meeting

 
Jessica Morris
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Toscafund founder Martin Hughes picked up the moniker of the Rottweiler after gaining a reputation for running one of the City's most aggressive hedge funds (Source: Getty)

Activist investor Toscafund today published an open letter to Speedy Hire, reiterating its call for the industrial tools and equipment rental firm's chairman to resign.

Toscafund believes Jan Astrand has failed to deliver during his time as executive chairman and lacks the "appropriate track record or attitude" to oversee the company's turnaround. It now wants him to resign ahead of a general meeting.

Read more: Speedy Hire raises hackles of Rottweiler

Toscafund's chief executive, Martin Hughes, said in a letter to Astrand: “We believe that it would be in shareholders’ best interests if you were to resign ahead of the meeting to save both time and expense.”

"You will by now be aware of the significant shareholder discontent about your track record at Speedy Hire, both in terms of governance and shareholder value creation."

Speedy Hire's shares closed up 3.62 per cent to 35.75p per share today.

Hughes has been garnered the nickname Rottweiler in the City for his aggressive investing practises.

His warning came after Speedy Hire’s board bowed to the fund's demands last month, saying that it would call a general meeting for shareholders to vote on Astrand’s removal.

Read more: Investors win as activism invades the boardroom

The company recently initiated a review of its operations after falling to a full-year loss. It had been hit by the botched implementation of an IT system, as well as a shortage of equipment to rent out to customers.

Hughes’ letter also said: “This is the first time in Toscafund’s 16-year history that we have felt compelled to take such action at one of the companies in which we invest and we do not do so lightly.”

It continued: “Given the significant opposition against you, of which I am sure you are fully aware, we believe that your position is untenable.”

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