Signet rebels urge share action

Rebel shareholders in Signet, the debt-laden jewellery group, made a last-ditch attempt to force the board's hand yesterday ahead of Friday's emergency general meeting that will consider proposals to break up the former Ratners group.

Preference shareholders, led by the UK Active Value fund, issued an open letter to Signet chairman James McAdam, criticising the board for offering no alternative strategy to the rebels' break-up proposals. It said: "All we have seen is a vague promise to restructure the company and we believe that a reconstruction would have an adverse effect upon ordinary shareholders." The Signet board dismissed the rebels' attack as "nonsense".

The disgruntled shareholders suggested a package that would see ordinary shareholders receive 20p per share, providing Signet subsidiaries could be sold for more than £700m. They want the board to seek buyers for the subsidiaries and report back on prices that could be achieved.

The rebels look set to lose Friday's vote as several of Signet's key institutional shareholders have pledged support to the company. Flemings, Schroders and Scottish Value fund, which together account for 25 per cent of the ordinary shares, will back the company. Another 12 per cent of ordinary shareholders have also pledged support.

However, the institutions are impatient with Mr McAdam's failure to deliver the financial re-construction he has promised for so long. Peter Seabrook of Flemings said: "McAdam must come up with something. We want to know what proposals the board has."

Mr McAdam is believed to favour a reconstruction immediately after the company's banking facilities are re-negotiated in June. The UK Active Value Fund, led by Julian Treger and Brian Myerson, is seeking meetings with institutional shareholders to see if they will switch their vote. However, Flemings said yesterday that it would not agree to a meeting.

Signet is labouring under debts of £360m and has unpaid dividend arrears of £100m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (Freelance) : Guru Careers: An Investment Writer / Stock Picker is...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue