Tory donor Odey seeks Tungsten chiefs’ ousting

Tory donor Odey seeks Tungsten chiefs’ ousting

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The billionaire hedge fund manager and Tory donor Crispin Odey has declared war on the board of a London-listed‎ electronic invoicing group in a bid to oust its bosses.

Sky News has learnt that Odey Asset Management, which is one of the largest shareholders in Tungsten Corporation, is demanding the scalps of chairman Nick Parker‎ and Richard Hurwitz, its chief executive.

A meeting‎ of Tungsten’s directors has been convened for Thursday to discuss Odey’s demands, according to insiders.

Unless the company bows to the hedge fund’s request and replaces the duo with two unidentified Odey nominees, it is understood to be threatening to requisition an extraordinary general meeting.

Odey is said to have ‎been canvassing fellow shareholders including Artemis, Hadron and Indus Capital in recent weeks about its growing frustration with Tungsten’s management.

At least one big shareholder is said to be angry at the remuneration of Tungsten bosses‎ given its status as a minnow of London’s junior AIM stock market.

The shares closed on Wednesday at just over 53p, giving it a market value of just £66m.

Mr Odey is one of the City’s most prominent investors, and as a keen Brexiter has been politically active in pressing for a more Eurosceptic tone in the negotiations over the UK’s departure from the EU.

Earlier this month, he told The Observer that Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, should replace Theresa May in Downing Street.

His annoyance at the situation at Tungsten is said to be long-standing, and has emerged after a 20% slump in its share price during the last year.

The loss-making company provides a digital transaction network for invoice financing, and has a blue-chip customer base which includes General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline and IBM.

‎However, the company has struggled to meet investor demands for revenue growth.

In ‎a trading update this month, Mr Hurwitz said Tungsten was at “an inflection point”.

Sources said the company would have little choice but to accede to Mr Odey’s demands for a change of leadership given his significant stake and the fact that he appeared to have won support from other leading shareholders.

Odey Asset Management and Tungsten declined to comment on Wednesday evening.

(c) Sky News 2018: Tory donor Odey seeks Tungsten chiefs’ ousting