Acquisitor demands fresh Baltimore vote

The battle for control of Baltimore Technologies, the cash shell that is planning to transform itself into a green energy company, erupted into life again yesterday after the company's largest shareholder demanded a fresh vote to oust the current directors.

The battle for control of Baltimore Technologies, the cash shell that is planning to transform itself into a green energy company, erupted into life again yesterday after the company's largest shareholder demanded a fresh vote to oust the current directors.

Acquisitor Holdings, the Bermuda-based fund, has requested a second extraordinary meeting of shareholders to consider a resolution to replace the existing board, led by chairman Bijan Khezri, with a slate of its own candidates.

The move came as Aquisitor bought a further 540,000 shares in Baltimore, raising its stake to just over 19 per cent.

Mr Khezri and his fellow board members survived an identical vote by the slimmest of margins at an EGM earlier this month at which about a third of the shareholders voted.

Mr Khezri got 9.7 million votes in his favour compared with 9.65 million against - a winning margin of just over 47,000 votes or 0.09 per cent of the shares in circulation. However, Baltimore pointed out that, excluding the 8.6 million shares which Acquisitor voted in favour of its own candidate, Mr Khezri's margin of support was nine to one.

Baltimore bitterly attacked the demand for a fresh vote, claiming that the previous one had cost shareholders between £500,000 and £1m. The company is valued at £24.7m, which compares almost exactly with the size of its cash resources.

Baltimore said a meeting had been arranged with Acquisitor this week "to explore a mutually acceptable way forward".

"Acquisitor has chosen to disregard this and requisition a further EGM instead of waiting for the AGM, at great disruption and significant additional cost to the company and its other shareholders," Mr Khezri said.

A spokesman for Acquisitor said yesterday: "We can confirm that we have asked for another EGM. Our position remains unchanged." He added that its poor backing at the first EGM was because it had been denied direct access to a large number of shareholders who held their shares through nominee accounts.

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