Baltimore yields share register as Acquisitor ups stake

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The Independent Online

Baltimore Technologies, the embattled former darling, has bowed to pressure and agreed to reveal the identities of its shareholders to Acquisitor, the investment group that wants to oust Baltimore's management team.

Acquisitor will use the information, which Baltimore is legally obliged to provide, to write direct to all Baltimore's 45,000 mainly private shareholders. It will urge them to reject Baltimore's plans to transform itself into a clean energy company having been formed as an internet security business, albeit one that has fallen from the heights of the FTSE 100 to a market value of just £22.8m.

Aquisitor is Baltimore's biggest shareholder. It has a declared stake of 13.6 per cent but is believed to have bought more shares yesterday, taking its holding closer to 15 per cent. Gaining access to Baltimore's shareholder register is a significant development in Acquisitor's campaign to stop Baltimore's plans and preserve the company's £24.7m cash pile.

Baltimore last night said it had issued the necessary notices earlier in the day to various brokers, requiring them to reveal details of the beneficial owners behind numerous nominee accounts. Acquisitor estimates that 42 million of the company's 53 million shares are held in nominee accounts, used to aggregate large numbers of small shareholdings.

It has also arranged shareholder meetings in Dublin next Tuesday and in London the day after to discuss its attempts to block Baltimore's restructuring plans and oust the management, which includes Bijan Khezri, the non-executive chairman, and David Weaver, the former BP director who has become Baltimore's new chief executive.

Mr Weaver's salary is £200,000 while Mr Khezri, the former chief executive, received a £310,000 pay-off for relinquishing his executive role. He was also paid £300,000 last year, including a £150,000 bonus.

Acquisitor has attacked Baltimore's record on acquisitions, claiming the company has squandered £1bn of assets, and believes it should not be trusted with shareholders' money any more. It also says Baltimore's plans for a new, clean energy business lack any detail, including basic business plan information such as market size and growth rates.

However, Acquisitor has yet to detail any of its own alternative plans, as says it will not until it has ascertained Baltimore's true financial position.