Malmaison owner Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) has refuted claims by its largest institutional shareholder that it mismanaged Vector, the planned hotel real estate investment trust (REIT) that stalled early this month.
MWB also dismissed Mercury Real Estate's (MRE) call for MWB chief executive Richard Balfour-Lynn to resign unless he abandons plans to sell the group's assets via a REIT.
Mercury Real Estate (MRE), which holds a 15.8% shareholding in MWB, yesterday revealed that it had only reluctantly backed the Vector scheme after it was presented by MWB a "fait accompli".
Mercury added that the UK's first hotel REIT had been "fraught with conflicts of interest" arising from Balfour-Lynn's position as director of Vector, chief executive officer of Vector's external management company and chief executive officer of MWB.
The investor went on to say it was also "extremely uncomfortable" with the decision to sell the portfolio in an "off-market transaction", which it felt wouldn't maximise value for shareholders and was in breach of the MWB board of directors' responsibilities.
Mercury's chief executive David Jarvis said: "It is time that the board of directors disposed of the portfolio in a manner that will maximise value to all shareholders, not Balfour-Lynn disproportionately."
MWB for its part said it would stick to its guns and pursue the Vector sale until the end of June, only putting the property portfolio up for sale on the open market after this if unsuccessful.
By Emily Manson
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