Tchenguiz removes Horlick fund's board

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The Independent Online

Vincent Tchenguiz yesterday secured enough support to oust the board of Bramdean Alternatives, the fund run by City "superwoman" Nicola Horlick, which is now likely to be wound up.

Elsina, an investment vehicle owned by the property tycoon, had called for the removal of Bramdean Alternatives' board in May, after almost two years of underperformance. Yesterday it got its wish. It had also called for cash to be returned to investors.

Shareholders owning 55.6 per cent of the listed fund backed the proposals to replace the board at yesterday's extraordinary general meeting in Guernsey. Elsina was backed by RMF, a division of Man Group, Brit Insurance and Progressive. Elsina welcomed the move yesterday.

The board, run by the former 3i chief executive Brian Larcombe, was removed after the EGM result was confirmed. They were replaced by Galaxy Asset Management's chairman, Jonathan Carr, who will oversee the new board, as well as the banking veterans David Copperwaite and Mark Tucker. Mr Carr thanked shareholders for supporting the new board's appointment, who would "consider the best course of action for their company to take".

The board will assess the state of the group's investments and – while many believe winding it up is the most likely outcome – has pledged to "consider all possible options to maximise value for shareholders".

One of these options could be a potential bid by Ms Horlick. It emerged earlier this month that a mystery suitor for the business was none other than the investment vehicle run by Ms Horlick herself, who manages Bramdean Alternatives' investments.

She is yet to table a bid, and earlier this week the board announced it had broken off talks with her at the overwhelming request of shareholders. Ms Horlick indicated she could take her bid hostile against her own fund.

Ms Horlick declined to comment yesterday.

It is understood that the new board will meet with her as the fund's manager before talking about the potential bid. Sources close to Ms Horlick said she was "no worse off" following the vote.

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