Scholl, the footwear group besieged by corporate agitators Julian Treger and Brian Myerson, yesterday accused dissident shareholders of secrecy and short-termism as they implored them to vote against resolutions favouring a board shake-up.
To win over shareholder support, the company said its pre-tax profits for the first eight months of this year were 20% up on the corresponding period last year and that its business plan was on track.
The new chief executive, Colin Brown, formerly with Reckitt and Colman as group director Europe, said: "I intend to accelerate the improvement in Scholl's performance, concentrating on volume growth, increasing margins and reductions in fixed costs. This is the best way to maximise value for shareholders."
Mr Treger and Mr Myerson, and Claudia Perkins of J O Hambro, the finance house whose clients have built up a stake of more than 10%, have called a meeting for 24 October at which they intend to appoint themselves in place of three non-executive directors and seek buyers for the business.
Mr Treger believes Scholl would be better off as part ofan international group that would benefit from a worldwide marketing and distribution set- up. Yesterday he said Scholl's latest riposte did not address the central issue, which was that the company would be better off owned by somebody else.
Scholl said yesterday the proposed appointees have little relevant experience to the company. Nor did it think a forced sale was the way to achieve full value for shareholders.
Scholl's shares moved up 3p to 232p on the announcement.