Sir James Cayzer vows to continue battle over Caledonia Investments

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The Independent Online

Sir James Cayzer will not cease battle with fellow family members of the Cayzer trust if he loses today's crucial vote on the possible break-up of Caledonia Investments, its principal asset.

The trust meets this morning to debate proposals, made by Sir James, that would allow members to realise the value of their underlying holdings in London-listed Caledonia, in which the trust has a 36 per cent stake. For passage he needs votes representing 50 per cent of the trust's shares, but he is thought to have the support of shareholders representing just 25 per cent.

"We do not regard the meeting as a focal point. This is not going to go away," a source close to Sir James said yesterday.

Sir James ­ with the backing of other family members, including Lord Rotherwick and Nigel Cayzer ­ are proposing that the trust's shareholders gain at least one opportunity over the next three months to liquidate their holdings near Caledonia's underlying asset value. They complain that the trust's shares suffer a discount to Caledonia shares, and Caledonia's portfolio of investments, which include the Sloane Club.

Peter Buckley, chairman of Caledonia and of the family trust, called today's meeting to discuss the plan and is proposing a motion of confidence in the board's existing strategy. He has rejected appeals from the Cayzer-Rotherwick group to postpone the meeting.

A spokesman for that group hit out yesterday at suggestions that Sir James himself wanted to liquidate his holding in the trust. "James Cayzer's principal belief is to hold the family trust together," he said.

Sir James' supporters argue that his plan is aimed at creating the circumstances whereby family members could liquidate holdings in Caledonia quickly and at fair value "should they need to raise money for a house or something".

The Cayzer-Rotherwick group is also seeking the election of two additional non-executive board directors.