Belfast Telegraph

Speedy Hire reiterates opposition to Toscafund merger call

Tool rental firm Speedy Hire has again brushed aside calls from Toscafund to oust its executive chairman and merge with a rival, urging shareholders to reject a set of proposals put forward by the activist investor.

The board of the embattled firm said it should not push for a tie-up with HSS Hire and reaffirmed that it is backing Jan Astrand ahead of a special general meeting on September 9.

Speedy Hire said: "The independent board believes that the stabilisation of and operational and financial recovery under way at Speedy is the direct result of the close working relationship between Jan Astrand and (chief executive) Russell Down."

It added that Mr Astrand has played a "key role" in Speedy Hire's recovery and a tie-up with HSS would put that recovery in jeopardy.

Toscafund has accused Mr Astrand of lacking the "the appropriate record or attitude" and failing to deliver.

The activist investor is also pushing for David Shearer to be appointed to the board, but Speedy Hire claimed that "his experience is no longer relevant" and his "independence from Toscafund not proven".

Speedy Hire has recommended that shareholders vote down Toscafund's proposals.

"The independent board continues to believe that the resolutions are, in each case, not in the best interests of all shareholders and continues to unanimously and strongly recommend that shareholders vote against both resolutions," the company said.