The Swiss financier, Martin Ebner, is demanding seats on the boards of the banking concern, Credit Suisse, and the pharmaceuticals giant, Roche.This content was published on February 4, 2000 - 14:04
The Swiss financier, Martin Ebner, is demanding seats on the boards of the banking concern, Credit Suisse, and the pharmaceuticals giant, Roche.
In the case of Roche, Ebner says he also wants the company to create a unified share structure, which would give him more say in the running of the company.
At the moment, the founding family owns more than 50 per cent of the shares with voting rights.
"A classic simple shareholder structure can lead to increased value for all shareholders," said Ebner, who is head of the BZ Group Investment Bank. He currently holds 16.3 per cent of the votes in Roche.
With a unified share structure his voting rights would increase substantially.
But in a first reaction, a Roche spokesman dismissed Ebner's proposal, saying the company had no plans to change.
With Credit Suisse, Ebner holds 9.7 per cent of the votes and says the vice-chairman, Peter Spaelti, is due to step down due to old age.
But analysts say Ebner's presence on the board of Credit Suisse could represent a conflict of interest.
Eleanor Sharraz, a trader at Bank Leu, says Ebner's demand is bound to cause waves.
"UBS disappeared after he increased his strong shareholder stake," she says. "He wants his return increased and in his view companies should concentrate on the most efficient divisions and shed the less efficient.
"In the banking sector, the most efficient divisions with high return are asset management, investment banking and mergers and acquisitions."
Martin Ebner is one of Switzerland's wealthiest men, with a 44 per cent stake in BZ group.
By Michael Hollingdale
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