Fight for control of Davenham begins

AN activist shareholder at Davenham Group has served a notice on the firm requisitioning a general meeting of shareholders to call for the removal of the board’s senior directors.

Shareholder David Anthony, who has bought up shares in recent weeks to develop a stake of around 14.9% in the business, wants to convene the meeting to remove group managing director Paul Burke and James Kerr-Muir.

Mr Anthony, who is a former of Hitachi Capital, is proposing that he be voted in to replace Burke and that Gary Jennison is appointed as the firm’s new chairman.

The Manchester-based asset finance firm incurred huge losses on its property lending book and has since been placed into run-off mode following a review by advisors Hawkpoint Partners, which declared back in June that there was likely to be no value in its shares. It has since stopped writing new business and is collecting in existing loans to repay lender Royal Bank of Scotland.

Purchases by Anthony pushed the company’s share price up from just over a penny to over 4p in September, forcing the company to reiterate that shareholders were unlikely to see any return for their money. A trading update issued last week stated that the firm’s loan portfolio has reduced to around £80m, while its debt to RBS stands at around £111m.

The current share price of 2.84p gives the firm a market cap of around £740,000. The company’s largest shareholder, Jersey-based ACP Capital, is also reported to have put its 29% stake up for auction.

Davenham said that it will issue a notice of when the meeting will take place by December 14.