The carousel of increasingly aggressive shareholder circulars between activist investor Toscafund and the board of Speedy Hire is still spinning.
The two parties are currently skirmishing ahead of an extraordinary general meeting set for next Friday (9 September) where Tosca intends to again call for changes among the top brass at the firm – something Speedy is dead set against.
After Speedy Hire hit back at Toscafund earlier today by advising shareholders to vote against resolutions put forward by the activist investor, Toscafund seems determined to have the last word.
Tosca has responded with arguments backing up each point. The full (rather long) text can be read here.
The fund – which has built up a near 20 per cent stake in Speedy and also holds a sizeable stake in HSS – says a merger between the two is something it is no longer pushing for, but now wants Speedy chairman Jan Astrand to be ousted and David Shearer to be appointed a non-executive director to arrest what it calls "significant shareholder value destruction".
Share holders will vote on the the appointments separately on 9 September. Tosca said that if Shearer is appointed Astrand would be forced to resign.
A spokesperson for the fund said:
If the motion to appoint David Shearer to the board as a non-executive director is carried then the position of Jan Astrand to remain as chairman will become untenable.
In the circular this afternoon Tosca slammed Speedy Hire's claims of a recovery at the firm, saying:
There is no proof a recovery is underway, given the share price has nearly halved since Jan Astrand’s appointment as executive chairman in July 2015. Since Jan Astrand's appointment as non-executive chairman on 11 November 2014 and the day prior to Toscafund's first public announcement on 25 July 2016, the company had a negative total shareholder return of 50.9 per cent. The board of Speedy Hire has failed to demonstrate any real momentum in its recovery.
In a circular to share holders earlier today Speedy Hire issued a short rebuttal to each of Toscafund's original arguments for change:
Ball's in your court, Speedy!
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