Row deepens at Arthur Shaw

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The Independent Online
THE BITTER battle between two former chairmen of Arthur Shaw, the Midlands engineering group, is set to continue in court, writes John Murray.

Gordon Pearson is to pursue a minority shareholder action against rebel shareholders who deposed him as chairman at an extraordinary meeting last week.

He is seeking the removal from the Arthur Shaw board of two former directors who were re-elected after he was unseated.

One of them, Ian Tickler, was chairman of the company immediately before Mr Pearson, when it came to the Unlisted Securities Market in 1988. The other, Donald Crammond, was deputy chairman until he was removed at the annual meeting last August.

Mr Pearson had originally obtained an ex-parte injunction preventing the rebels' election but that was subsequently overturned at the High Court in Birmingham.

Mr Tickler said Mr Pearson's petition 'could be a long drawn- out action', but that it would not affect the company as it was against himself and Mr Crammond. 'He's got terribly personal,' he said.

The resolution to dismiss Mr Pearson last week was carried by 50.89 per cent of voting shares, with 49.11 per cent against. Mr Tickler and Mr Crammond were elected by similarly slim margins.

Mr Pearson joined Arthur Shaw when it took over Jackdaw, his engineering firm, in 1990. Mr Tickler and Mr Crammond say Jackdaw is at the heart of the group's problems and should be sold.

Mr Pearson said at the weekend that institutional shareholders refused to support the rebels and that he only lost because John Leek, chairman of Lilleshall, the building materials firm that holds 1.7 per cent of Arthur Shaw, did a last-minute deal with the rebels.