TXI: Largest investor joins other shareholders in push for new directors

TXI: Largest investor joins other shareholders in push for new directors
Published: 21 September 2009

Texas Industries Inc.’s largest investor said Thursday that he would side with a faction of shareholders to elect new directors at the annual meeting next month.

Nassef Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire who owns nearly 15 per cent of the Dallas-based cement maker’s shares, has criticised TXI executives in the past.

In a regulatory filing, Sawiris said he would back a decision by Shamrock Holdings, TXI’s third-largest shareholder, with 10.2 percent ownership, to elect new board members at the Oct. 22 meeting.

Southeastern Asset Management Inc., a Memphis, Tenn.-based investment adviser owning 9.3 percent of TXI, announced its support of Shamrock’s director nominees on Sept. 1. With those three shareholders, at least 34.5 percent of TXI stands against company executives and demands new directors.

Burbank, Calif.-based Shamrock, founded by Roy Disney, Walt Disney’s nephew, has argued that new directors would bring better oversight to corporate decision-making, which would boost the company’s stock price. It charges that TXI has underperformed its peers under current managers.

In a letter to TXI’s board, Sawiris wrote: "I believe the [Shamrock] director nominees ... will be a catalyst for improving performance and governance at TXI and most importantly for increasing shareholder value."