Acquisitor to oppose plans at Baltimore AGM

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The Independent Online

The battle between management and a dissident shareholder for control of Baltimore Technologies flared up again yesterday after the investor declared it would vote against the company's plans at the annual meeting.

Acquisitor Holdings, the biggest shareholder, has already scuppered Baltimore's strategy of turning itself into a green energy company. A former high-flying internet security group, which is now a cash shell, it earlier this month announced an alternative strategy of returning £10m to shareholders.

However, Acquisitor yesterday said it would oppose the cash-return plan at the AGM on 5 July. It said given the 26 per cent stake that Acquisitor holds, it "fails to understand" why the Baltimore board did not seek its support. Special resolutions, such as the proposal to give money to shareholders, require the backing of 75 per cent of votes cast.

The shareholder said: "Acquisitor Holdings' reason for voting against resolution five is simple: if Baltimore plans to distribute through a special dividend as much as £10m, Acquisitor Holdings is concerned that Baltimore will not be left with sufficient funds to meet its obligations and at the same time position itself for growth."

Acquisitor also said it would vote against the re-election of the Baltimore board, led by Bijan Khezri, the chairman. at the AGM. The shareholder wants to put its own people on the board, at which point it will decide what to do with the company's cash pile, of between £20m and £25m.

Acquisitor and Baltimore have been engaged in a long-running tussle. In May, Acquisitor defeated Baltimore energy strategy at an extraordinary meeting. At the time, Acquisitor had 16 per cent of Baltimore shares. Earlier this month, that went above 25 per cent. Baltimore said at the point at which it laid out the return-of-cash plan, Acquisitor had not amassed enough shares to single-handedly block the proposal.