Electra rejects claims it is held ‘hostage’ as its returns impress

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Electra’s board has denied it has been held hostage by its fund manager offshoot after reporting prosperous results ahead of a crunch shareholder vote next week.

Activist investor Ed Bramson has laid siege to the group over the past 12 months by accusing the six-man board of paying too much in fees to its fund manager Electra Partners. 

“It’s just ridiculous. The board is independent,” chairman Roger Yates said of the criticism.

“If the manager doesn’t deliver, we hold their feet to the fire, but these results show the manager has been delivering.” 

Diluted net asset value per share was 3,914p for the year ending September, representing a total return of 25%, beating the FTSE All Share, which fell 2%. 

Electra has assets of about £1.5 billion including TGI Friday’s and The Original Bowling Company. 

The FTSE 250 firm also announced a final dividend of 78p a share, taking the total for the year to 116p for a dividend yield of 3.6%. 

Shareholders will gather next Thursday to vote on a proposal from Sherborne — Bramson’s investment vehicle — to install himself and former PwC chairman Ian Brindle to the Electra board. 

The company said new investments had been “slower” this year due to its discipline on costs. 

Electra Partners’ Alex Fortescue also said Bramson’s presence had affected investing.

“It’s definitely made it more difficult, and having an activist investor with a different style makes it harder to make an investment.

“Every question [from vendors] starts with, ‘what about Sherborne?’ I’d argue, if we are hostage to anyone, it’s Bramson,” he said. 

Bramson today published private documents showing his dealings with Electra, and reaffirmed his claim that it had previously underperformed and was taking on too much risk.

Source Article from http://www.standard.co.uk/business/electra-rejects-claims-it-is-held-hostage-as-its-returns-impress-a3099356.html

October 26, 2015 |
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