Ding, ding: Round 1,182 of Toscafund v Speedy Hire smackdown ahead of meeting

William Turvill
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Cooper Twins In The Ring
Toscafund, which owns nearly 20 per cent of Speedy Hire shares, has forced a general meeting for this week (Source: Getty)

Activist investor Toscafund has issued yet another statement calling for change at Speedy Hire ahead of a general meeting on Friday.

Toscafund, whose chief executive Martin Hughes has earned the nickname Rottweiler in the City, is attempting to oust Speedy’s chairman Jan Astrand and wants David Shearer to be appointed to the board.

Influential shareholder groups Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc), Glass Lewis and ISS oppose the removal of Astrand.

Read more: Toscafund is determined to have the last word in spat with Speedy Hire

But they have joined calls for Shearer to be appointed, despite the fact the company’s board has made clear its opposition.

On Shearer, Pirc said:

It is considered that increased independent representation is a valuable safeguard against group-think and that sufficient assurance has been provided on the independence and calibre of the candidate in question to merit their election. Support is recommended.

However, Schroders, which holds around 10 per cent of Speedy’s shares, is understood to back both of the motions put forward by Toscafund, which is itself Speedy’s biggest investor with 19 per cent.

Read more: Speedy Hire and Rottweiler set for shareholder showdown on Friday

Toscafund said in a statement this morning that Shearer’s “skills and expertise are urgently needed in order to redress the egregious corporate governance failings instigated by Jan Astrand”.

The statement added: “Jan Astrand’s actions and poor leadership have significantly weakened the board, and Speedy Hire and its shareholders have suffered for it. Appointing David Shearer to the board can only strengthen it at a critical time for the company.”

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