Property magnate Uri Heller calls for shareholder backing

Michael Bow
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URI Heller, the chief executive and founder of real estate developer Ablon Group, yesterday issued an impassioned plea to shareholders urging them to vote against plans to remove him from the firm.

One of the company’s major shareholders and lender to the firm, Volksbank Group, has proposed removing Heller as director from the company and has won the backing of activist investor Laxey Partners for the plan.

Shareholders will vote at a meeting to remove Heller, who founded the firm in 1993 and owns 28.65 per cent, next month. Yesterday he issued a letter to shareholders urging them to keep him at the firm.

“It is my duty to act in the best interests of the company and its shareholders and I believe that I have always done so,” he said. “But my devotion to the company is even more fundamental than that. I founded the company nearly 20 years ago and I have worked for it ever since.”

Heller also accused Volksbank, which owns 24.3 per cent of Ablon, of making an offer to take control of the firm without making a takeover offer. It wants to appoint different directors to lead the firm.

On 12 November Laxey Partners, which owns three per cent, issued a call to arms to fellow shareholders to remove Heller from the company, citing conflicts of interest between his role as a shareholder and chief executive. The vote is due to take place on 5 December.