Alliance plea to ignore buy-back call

ALLIANCE Trust has called on shareholders to ignore the "unwelcome distraction" of an activist investor's call for the firm to implement a share buy-back programme.

Laxey Partners, which has only a 0.06 per cent stake in the Dundee-based trust, has demanded that two resolutions - calling for a discount control mechanism and revised voting rights - be voted on at the firm's AGM in May.

Alliance Trust chairman Lesley Knox said: "Despite this unwelcome distraction, we remain focused on investment performance - providing a core investment savings vehicle for our shareholders. With over 44,000 investors, either as direct shareholders or through Alliance Trust Savings, the board is conscious of acting in the best long-term interests of all our shareholders."

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Laxey, a British Virgin Islands registered company led by Colin Kingsnorth, has been conducting a campaign to make the trust buy back shares to bridge the gulf between the value of its stock and the value of its assets.

Last month, Laxey said it had since been contacted by a "large number" of Alliance shareholders agreeing with its proposals after it issued an open letter to the board requesting it start buying back more shares.

Shares in Alliance Trust, a FTSE100 firm run by Katherine Garrett-Cox, have persistently traded at a price undervaluing its assets by 15-20 per cent or more.