Minerva set to fight board coup attempt

PROPERTY developer Minerva is gearing up to fight off another coup attempt from its largest investor.

The company, which recently completed landmark City development the Walbrook, will this week issue a circular to shareholders in response to a demand from the South African billionaire investor Nathan Kirsh for an emergency meeting.

Kirsh, who holds 29.5 per cent of Minerva’s share capital, wants to oust the property group’s chairman and chief executive and has been trying to drum up support from fellow investors.

Kirsh has concerns about the compmany’s performance, as well as its levels of disclosure. In particular, he wants more information regarding the terms of its recent refinancing.

A spokesman for Minerva, however, said Kirsh, through his investment vehicle KiFin, was making a “cynical attempt” to destabilise the company, which the board would strongly defend.

“KiFin is effectively proposing a wholesale change to a board, effectively gaining control without paying a premium and is acting in pursuit of its own ends rather than in the interests of all shareholders,” he said.

“We have given a good level of disclosure on our refinancing but the disclosure has to be within the constraints of commercial reality.”

This is Kirsh’s third attempt to have chairman Oliver Whitehead and chief executive Salmaan Hasan removed.