Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz backing shake-up at First Group that is being pushed by activist US hedge fund
Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz is backing a shake-up at First Group that is being pushed by an activist US hedge fund.
Speaking exclusively to the Mail, Tchenguiz said he ‘very recently’ bought roughly 0.5 per cent of First Group’s shares and fully supports the rail and bus company’s biggest investor, Coast Capital, which wants to oust most of its board.
Coast, led by chief investment officer James Rasteh, owns almost 10 per cent of First Group’s stock and claims that its management ‘lack the operational and turnaround experience necessary to address challenges in underperforming divisions’.
Support: Robert Tchenguiz said he ‘very recently’ bought roughly 0.5 per cent of First Group’s shares
Flamboyant property mogul Tchenguiz, whose empire with his brother Vincent was once collectively estimated at £4.5 billion, said: ‘Coast is not trying to take control of this company, all they’re trying to do is highlight that management has not done a very good job and proposed a new management team.’
The 58-year-old said: ‘The ideal outcome is either for the company to have a strategic review or allow the new proposed management to come in and create more value for all stakeholders – because this management has proven they can’t do it.’
Coast is due to unveil more of its turnaround plans for First Group on a website – called SaveFirstgroup.co.uk – next week.
A First Group spokesman said: ‘The board is focused on delivering shareholder value and is confident that the company has the right team and the right experience and plans in place to do so.’