Alliance could push though change at National Express

Rebel shareholder Elliott Advisors claims to have secured support from the influential Cosmen family for its efforts to shake-up the board at National Express Group.

The activist hedge fund has held talks with the Cosmens aimed at winning the Spanish family’s support for its proposals to appoint three new directors to the board at the group’s AGM on May 10 (PT003). In a statement issued this week, Elliott said that following those discussions it expects the Cosmens to vote in favour of its proposals.

Elliott and the Cosmens are the two largest shareholders in the bus and rail group – with stakes of 17.5% and 17.4% respectively. This leaves them around 16% short of the majority they will need to push changes through at the AGM.
Jorge Cosmen, leader of the Cosmen dynasty, is deputy chairman of National Express Group.

Analysts expect Elliott to seek the break-up of the group, a move which would allow the Cosmens to buy back Alsa, the Spanish coach operation they owned for centuries but sold to the group in 2005.