The public SEPI relies on the activist fund Amber to completely restructure the board of directors, dispensing with the independents and giving entry to the Basque group SAPA
The technology group paves the way to soon give executive powers to the president, Marc Murtra, and to promote the plan to grow in the defense business as the Government wants
Blow of hand in the dome of Indra. The Government takes control of the technological group forming a new ‘hard core’ of shareholders and revolutionizing the company’s board of directors, dispensing with five of the seven independent directors. It was expected that the company’s shareholders’ meeting, held this Thursday in Madrid, would serve to inaugurate a new set of powers in the company in which the State Company of Industrial Holdings (SEPI) began to gain weight in the government of the group. But the meeting has been the door to launch a radical and instantaneous change.
The public SEPI, dependent on the Ministry of Finance and the group’s largest shareholder, has relied on the activist fund Amber -commanded by the also president of the Prisa group, Joseph Oughourlian- and on the Basque defense group SAPA to give a change in the composition of Indra’s board of directors. By surprise, the meeting has voted the dismissal of four independent directors (despite the fact that one of them, Alberto Terol, had presented his resignation with effect from tomorrow) and has rejected the renewal in the position of a fifth independent director.
The group dispenses with the independent directors who did not support the State becoming even more involved in controlling Indra and that they had formed a block last year to prevent the group’s president, Marc Murtra, from assuming executive functions. This Thursday’s move paves the way for Murtra ends up becoming CEO soon, as supported by the Government, to promote the plan to grow in the defense business.
The Government announced last February its intention to increase the shareholding of SEPI, dependent on the Ministry of Finance, from 18.7% to 28%. At the moment it has reached just over 25% and will soon result in the public holding going from two to three directors in the company. In its attempt to strengthen public power over Indra, in addition to directly adding a new director, SEPI is relying on two new shareholders of the group to reinforce the commitment to defense.
The Basque defense group SAPA It has entered in recent weeks with a participation close to 8% and the board has approved its entry into the board of directors, with a place occupied by Jokin Aperribay (president of the Basque company and also of the Royal Society). Secondly, amber investment fundcommanded by Joseph Oughourlian, has just become a shareholder of Indra with a 4.1% stake, with a view to increasing that stake, and is the shareholder who has requested this Thursday to include in the agenda of the meeting by surprise the dismissal of four independents.
Indra prepares a shift in the orientation of its activitywith the aim of growing strongly in the defense industry, and become a great national champion in defense technology as promoted by the Government. In fact, the Government justifies the expansion of SEPI’s participation by “the importance of reinforcing the participation of the State as a reference shareholder in a strategic company for the country, especially in the field of security and defence”. SEPI itself underlines the “commitment of the State & rdquor; with a strategic company and links the need to strengthen the control position to promote Indra’s participation in large European defense projects, particularly at this time in the development of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), of which Spain forms part with Indra as industrial leader.