National Express investors blast activist Elliott’s calls

SHAREHOLDERS in transport group National Express hit back at activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors yesterday for attempting to destabilise the company’s recovery.

Elliott, National Express’ second-largest shareholder with a 17 per cent stake, has proposed three independent directors to join the board.

But shareholders, who declined to be named, said they supported chairman John Devaney and chief executive Dean Finch to turn the group’s fortunes around.

“When a company is in the hands of well-regarded individuals it is all the more surprising that this rumpus starts,” one said. “We think this is a pretty bad development for all National Express shareholders.”

Fund manager M&G, which holds a 13 per cent stake in National Trust, is also thought to oppose Elliott’s calls.

National Express has improved its performance since 2009 when it fought off takeover offers and a rescue rights issue. Elliott says its director choices would work to make the group financially stronger and more able to compete with its European rivals to win new business.

Elliott also bought a three per cent stake in Alliance Trust this week.