Stork ruling pleases both sides

Amsterdam’s company court has ordered an investigation into the management of engineering group Stork since September 2005 and has annulled the preference shares issued late last year. Two hedge funds, Paulson and Centaurus, had gone to court calling for the prefs, which had considerably diluted their voting rights, to be scrapped.

At the same time, however, the court said that a motion calling for the dismissal of Stork’s entire supervisory board at today’s EGM could not be debated.
Paulson and Centaurus are trying to force the company to sell off two of its three divisions and focus purely on aerospace.
In his ruling, company court president Huub Willems said the hedge funds could not force the company to drastically change strategy, which would lead to an ‘unstable and uncertain’ future for Stork.
Stork CEO Sjoerd Vollebregt said the ruling would mean a return to calmer waters for Stork. ‘We are pleased that the court has stated that Stork’s business strategy … is sound and based on good arguments,’ he told reporters. The hedge funds welcomed the ban on the anti-takeover defences.
The company court will also install three new supervisory board members to try to restore the relationship between management and the two big shareholders

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