Charter board hit with short termism jibe

THE board of Charter International came under fire from a high-profile shareholder yesterday for allowing its UK-based potential buyer Melrose to walk away from the bid race.

Long-term investor Schroders said Charter’s decision to sell to US rival Colfax for £1.5bn was a short-termist move that prioritised a cash payout over long-term growth.

“We were supportive of the Melrose offer as we never wished to be ‘cashed out’ of the long-term potential of the Charter businesses,” Schroders said.

“In our view it is disappointing that the opportunity was not taken by the Charter board and its advisors to engage with Melrose and, instead, to solicit alternative approaches.”

BDO partner Alex White said Melrose’s decision “has really put the spotlight on selling out for the highest price, which is not always in shareholders’ best interests”.

But sources close to Charter said the board stuck by its choice. The board has said it “secured very good value in difficult market conditions” and “at all times acted in the interests of the whole shareholder base.”