Salvesen faces shareholder anger despite split plans

Christian Salvesen, the transport to generator hire group, said yesterday it was on course to complete the demerger of its Aggreko generator hire business by the end of September.

But despite the news, the group, which earlier this year ran into a storm of controversy over the break-up proposals and pounds 150m payout to shareholders whipped up by its former chairman, Sir Gerald Elliot, is likely to face stiff questioning from its Scottish shareholders at a meeting in Edinburgh this morning.

The shares have underperformed since management led by Chris Masters, chief executive, rejected a pounds 1.1bn bid approach from rivals Hays last August.

Unchanged at 236.5p yesterday, the shares are well below the Hays offer, which would have been worth just short of 497p, even after taking account of a 17p special dividend and share consolidation.

Asked whether he was facing difficulties with his shareholders, Mr Masters said yesterday: "None of us is happy with where the share price is", but he said he remained committed to the demerger proposals.

"I am totally convinced that the demergers are exactly the right thing to do, because we have got two strong businesses. I am not a fan of conglomerates, never have been.

"We are also removing uncertainty. I still believe these two businesses will deliver value. I guess we will judge the success of the demerger on how the two businesses trade in the first year."

He was speaking as Salvesen unveiled an 11 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 85.9m for the year to March on sales up 6.6 per cent at pounds 746m. A final dividend of 5.35p raises the total for the year by 5.8 per cent to 9.15p, payable from earnings per share up from 18.8p to 19.4p.

Although Mr Masters highlighted underlying profits growth above 20 per cent from the Aggreko and Swift industrial logistics operations, analysts remained sceptical about the group's ability to maintain these figures. One said people were waiting for the demerger to pass judgment, but were anyway questioning the sustainability of this performance.

"The senior management of Salvesen does not have much support and the feeling is that, in the past, something has always come up and grabbed them," he said.

The half-way figures were hit by pounds 1m of costs incurred defending the group from the Hays bid and pounds 2.3m in professions fees and other charges as a result of the capital reconstruction and special dividends.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator - Financial Services

£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Affiliates & Partnerships

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor