Rebels raise the pressure at Tay

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The Independent Online
PRESSURE WAS mounting on Tay Homes last night after a leading investor urged the management to take speedy action to revive the housebuilder's flagging share price and a rebel shareholder called a meeting to oust the board.

Foreign & Colonial, Tay's fourth-largest investor with a 7 per cent stake, said it had issued an ultimatum to the Leeds-based company after losing patience with the poor performance of its stock. F&C's move came as Sunley Group, the small property company masterminding a shareholder revolt, confirmed that it had called an emergency meeting to oust the board.

Tay shares have fallen from 142.5p in March to 107.5p yesterday as the company was hit hard by the economic slowdown in the North. David Manning, F&C's head of UK equities, said the current board, led by chief executive John Swanson, had six months to turn round the company's fortunes. "We have put Tay under warning to produce some results. We want to see reasonably swift action in the first half of the year," he said.

However, Mr Manning said the fund manager would not support Sunley's call to replace Mr Swanson, chairman Norman Stubbs and two other directors with Sunley's nominees. The privately owned group has nominated Peter Hedges, a former executive with construction group Taylor Woodrow, as chairman and Sunley's chief executive, Richard Tice, as chief executive.

Mr Manning said Sunley's attempt to win four seats on the board on the back of its 10 per cent holding was an attempt to take over the company without paying a premium.