Laxey Partners, which holds 10.1% stake in Hirco, an AIM listed real estate firm has demanded a non-Hirnandani Chairman for Hirco. The activist investor has called for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) seeking a restructuring of the board. Laxey wants Hirco to change three of its directors and install an independent chairman instead.
The EGM will discuss the removal of the current chairman Niranjan Hiranandani and non-executive directors David Burton and Nigel McGowan. Laxey wants to bring in four independent directors including Andrew Pegge, Laxey co-founder, and Laxey executives Michael Haxby, John Bourbon and Aled Rhys-Jones. It has also proposed that the new chairman should be independent of the Hiranandani family.
Hirco is taking legal advice on Laxey Partners’ proposal and will also discuss it with the key shareholders to seek their support against Laxey. According to Hirco, the proposal is not in the company’s interest.
About a month back, Hirco had shelved its plans to merge its real estate projects (township developments at Panvel near Mumbai and Chennai) and Hirco Developments, a development firm, with its investment arm Hirco. Laxey Partners had strongly opposed the merger stating that it would dilute their interest and in turn effectively cede control to the Hiranandani family.
Laxey Partners manages two AIM listed funds - the Value Catalyst Fund which was launched in 2000 and the Terra Catalyst Fund which was launched last year.
Shareholder Activism In AIM Listed Companies
Recently, Asian hedge fund Altima India Master Fund asked for removal of Raghav Bahl and Alok Verma as directors of the AIM listed The Indian Film Company (IFC). KSK Emerging India Energy Fund (KEF), a £100 million fund listed in AIM, was recently wound up after the shareholders passed a resolution demanding the same.