Speedy rallies shareholders ahead of meeting

By Helen Wright01 September 2016

UK rental company Speedy Hire has continued to push back against major shareholder Toscafund’s calls to remove its chairman, issuing another statement urging its other shareholders to reject its demands at an upcoming meeting.

Toscafund was angered by Speedy’s rejection of a merger plan with HSS Hire, another UK rental company.

The activist shareholder, which owns 19.4% of Speedy’s shares and an 18.1% stake in HSS Hire, and called for the general meeting of Speedy’s shareholders and management to consider two resolutions: the first to remove Jan Åstrand as chairman, and the second to appoint David Shearer as a director of the company.

In its latest shareholder circular, Speedy again rejected Mr Shearer’s candidacy as chairman and stood by Mr Åstrand’s role as executive chairman, calling it “temporary and appropriate”, while stating that the combination of Mr Åstrand and chief executive Russell Down represented “strong and stable leadership”.

It also reiterated that it had analysed and rejected the proposed HSS merger, while pointing out that Speedy’s recovery was well underway.

“Jan Åstrand has played a key role both in the delivery of the recovery of the company and in the Board’s decision in June 2016 not to pursue at that time merger discussions with HSS which it believed would have put that recovery in jeopardy,” Speedy’s latest letter to shareholder stated.

It also pointed out that Mr Åstrand’s role will revert back to non-executive chairman from 30 September, 2016.

The general meeting takes place on 9 September.

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