TXI shareholder gains clout in boardroom battle

TXI shareholder gains clout in boardroom battle
Published: 22 October 2008

Texas Industries Inc.’s largest shareholder apparently won support Tuesday in his battle against company management, as shareholders in large numbers withheld their votes from two board members up for re-election.

For three weeks, Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris has called on other shareholders to use the vote to express dissatisfaction with the Dallas-based cement maker’s performance.

Since there were no other nominees to the board seats, a vote withholding support was seen as the way to register a protest with TXI management.

Nearly 50 per cent of the votes cast Tuesday at the company’s shareholders meeting withheld support for the directors, Sam Coats and Thomas Ransdell, according to Mr. Sawiris’ proxy solicitor.

Since not all shares were voted by the deadline, the votes withholding support represented less than 40 percent of total outstanding shares – still an unusually high number.

After voting ended, an additional 6.3 percent of the shares outstanding came in as being withheld from the nominees, according to NNS Holding, a Cayman Islands company controlled by Mr. Sawiris.