Rebels plotting to oust XTL executives

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The Independent Online

Shareholders are plotting to oust the executive team at XTL Biopharmaceuticals, an Israeli company trying to develop a treatment for Hepatitis C.

Shareholders are plotting to oust the executive team at XTL Biopharmaceuticals, an Israeli company trying to develop a treatment for Hepatitis C.

Shore Capital, a combative investment boutique, has amassed an 11.3 per cent stake and says it wants the company to slash executive pay and other costs to avoid running out of money. Graham Shore, its founder who is leading the revolt, was cagey about his plans for the company, but these could involve shutting down the operation and using the remaining $36m for a new venture.

XTL – a company backed by Sir Christopher Evans, the biotech entrepreneur – raised £31m in a flotation in 2000 when the sector was buoyed by the euphoria surrounding the mapping of the human genome. It has been forced to scale back ambitions for developing treatments for all types of hepatitis C but says clinical trials of its main products have gone to plan.

Analysts said it was unlikely Sir Christopher would swing his 4 per cent stake behind the rebels' demands. XTL described the rebel shareholders' move as "unwelcome" and tore into the calibre of the team Shore is proposing to parachute in to run the group. These include Zvi Marom, the founder of the telecoms equipment group BATM Advanced Communications, and Roni Aloni, a life sciences professor at Tel Aviv University whose specialism is wood formation in trees. XTL shares, which were floated at 150p, jumped 20 per cent to 8.25p.

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