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Tchenguiz not backing down

PROPERTY tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz yesterday refused to adjourn a general meeting of shareholders in Bramdean Alternatives, the listed fund for which he is tussling for control, while a leading corporate governance group warned his actions could give rise to potential conflicts of interest.<br /><br />The announcement comes after Nicola Horlick, the manager of Bramdean Alternatives, on Monday vowed to continue her quest to take over the fund despite a decision by its board to terminate offer discussions.<br /><br />Tchenguiz&rsquo;s vehicle Elsina, which owns 28 per cent of Bramdean Alternatives, said there was &ldquo;no basis&rdquo; for speculation it would agree to call off tomorrow&rsquo;s meeting, when shareholders will vote on its proposals to replace the fund&rsquo;s current board with three of its own nominated directors.<br /><br />Elsina also confirmed it would give full consideration to all viable alternatives to winding up the fund and returning money to investors, including any future bid from Horlick.<br /><br />But corporate governance advisory firm PIRC threw its weight behind the current board, citing concerns over possible conflict of interests as all the proposed directors are the nominees of one shareholder.<br /><br />A spokesman for Bramdean Alternatives welcomed the show of support, calling it &ldquo;an important endorsement of the board&rsquo;s view on Elsina&rsquo;s approach&rdquo;.<br /><br />Tchenguiz claims to have the support of over 50 per cent of the shareholders for his proposals. But if he loses the EGM vote tomorrow, Horlick, who made her approach through newly-created firm Petersfield Asset Management, would have until 31 July to officially launch a takeover bid. She has hired Tony Caplin, chairman of broker Panmure Gordon, as non-executive chairman of Petersfield.