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Baltimore directors face second coup

Major shareholder moves to oust board

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Baltimore Technologies is having more trouble with its revolting shareholders. One of the largest shareholders in the e-security-turned-cash-shell company is calling for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to sack the entire board of directors.

Acquisitor Holdings first tried to oust the board in March when it wrote an open letter to shareholders calling for the removal of the directors. The letter referred to "this board's appalling record" and the collapse in the value of Baltimore from a £5bn company to it's current value of £25m. Baltimore is trying to reinvent itself as a "green energy company".

Baltimore said it had received another request for an EGM, and for the removal of the board. A statement to the London Stock Exchange said the company was considering what action to take.

Bijan Khezri, non-executive chairman of Baltimore, said: "At the EGM on 6 May 2004, independent shareholders voted unequivocally against Acquisitor taking control of Baltimore. Immediately following the EGM, Baltimore initiated contact with Acquisitor. A meeting was arranged for this week to enter into a constructive dialogue to explore a mutually acceptable way forward in the interests of all shareholders. Acquisitor has chosen to disregard this and requisition a further EGM instead of waiting for the AGM."

The board said it would resist any attempt to take control of the company without paying shareholders a premium. Yesterday Acquisitor bought another 440,000 shares in Baltimore, giving it a 19.09 per cent stake.

Back in April, Baltimore called in the Financial Services Authority complaining that Acquisitor Holdings was making disparaging comments about the company in order to push down its share price. ®

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