New Caledonia Investments boss rocks the boat to bolster returns

FOR a company with roots like Caledonia Investments, which traces its history in line with the Cayzer shipping empire, a shake-up is a rare thing.

But for newly installed chief executive Will Wyatt (pictured), change is a necessity.

Caledonia, founded in the 1920s, has struggled in recent times. In terms of total returns, investors have lost 3.6 per cent over the past five years, below the performance of the FTSE All-Share index.

So it was with some triumph that the company revealed a stock market-beating performance yesterday.

Caledonia’s diluted net asset value per share rose by 6.4 per cent in the year to the end of March, above the FTSE All-Share index.

Net assets held by the firm also increased by 6.5 per cent to £1.26bn.

Wyatt told City A.M. he had stripped down the number of investments the company places and hired new staff.

He wants to cut down the number of investments the company makes to about 40, from its current position of 68.

But the new chief is also the great-grandson of Charles Cayzer, the founder of the shipping industry giant that bore his name, and is keen not to rock the boat too much.

“What I’ve done is less a shaking up more of a sharpening up around the edges,” he said.

“It’s more redefining what has worked very well and provides value to shareholders.”