Standard Life supports Minerva in board battle

Marion Dakers
CITY stalwart Standard Life threw its weight behind the board of Minerva yesterday, after the property investor and its activist shareholder KiFin traded another round of inflammatory statements.

“It is not clear to us that the KiFin nominated board candidates would act in the best interests of all shareholders,” said Andrew Jackson, an investment director at Standard Life Investments, which owns a 4.89 per cent stake in Minerva.

KiFin, owned by billionaire Nathan Kirsh, defended its plans to oust several Minerva board members in its latest strongly-worded letter to shareholders yesterday.

It complained of the apparent apathy of Minerva’s non-executive directors, and claimed the firm “has continued to mislead you” by couching the planned overhaul as KiFin’s attempt to seize control by stealth.

KiFin also turned on chief executive Salmaan Hasan, pointing out his salary represents 14 per cent of the firm’s wage bill.

Minerva hit back, telling shareholders it regrets KiFin’s continued public criticism, but strongly recommends they vote down the proposals at a crunch meeting on 8 September.