Caledonia to sell its stake in E&S trust

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The Independent Online

Caledonia Investments, the controversial investment trust under pressure from shareholders to improve its performance, is to get up to £88m in cash from realising its holdings in another investment vehicle.

English & Scottish Investors yesterday announced plans to make a tender offer for up to two-thirds of its shares. Caledonia is the biggest shareholder, with a 32.4-per-cent stake and it has already told English & Scottish that it wishes to sell its entire investment in the trust.

Caledonia, which has been hit by falling profits and has seen its shares trade at a discount to its net asset value (NAV), said proceeds from the sale would be used partly to pay back some of its borrowings.

A group of shareholders in the Cayzer Trust Company, the family trust headed by Sir Richard Cayzer that has the major shareholding in Caledonia, wants to convert their CTC shares into proper Caledonia shares, potentially making it easier to liquidate their holdings. They are also disgruntled at the discount beneath which Caledonia shares trade on the stock market relative to their underlying NAV.

Caledonia's shares have typically traded at a discount of between 20 and 34 per cent to asset value in recent years. English & Scottish said it estimated the tender offer price would be about 182.5p, a discount of about 13 per cent to NAV.