Sawaris want more from Texas

Sawaris want more from Texas
Published: 09 October 2008

Nassef Sawiris, an Egyptian executive who owns nearly 15 percent of Texas Industries Inc.’s stock, has sent a letter to the company’s shareholders, petitioning them to oust two board directors, including Sam Coats, a former Dallas mayoral candidate. Sawaris wants the Dallas-based cement maker’s shareholders to withhold their votes on Coats and Thomas Ransdell, who are both up for re-election on Oct. 21.

Coats is a business and aviation consultant in Dallas. He also was president and CEO of Schlotzky’s Inc. and S.I. Restructuring Inc. from June 2004 until March 2006. Thomas Ransdell is a private investment manager who previously served in several management positions within Vulcan Materials Co. and as director of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center Foundation.

Sawaris is chief executive officer of Cairo, Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries and has set his sights on having a presence on the company’s board. In a new letter sent to shareholders, dated Oct. 8, Sawaris voiced again his disappointment in the company’s most recent quarterly report in which earnings dropped 40 percent. While in a previous proposal, Sawiris also expressed his desire to increase his holdings in the company. When the proposal was not accepted, he began petitioning other shareholders to withhold their votes at the upcoming stockholders meeting.

“I strongly believe that no stockholder should be expected to accept operating performance as lackluster as TXI’s has been over the past year,” Sawiris said in his most recent letter, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “In its most recent earnings report, the company’s net income was down 40 percent from the same period last year. Furthermore, over the last 12 months, the company has underperformed its peer group by approximately 35 percent and is currently trading near its 52-week low of $26.26 and less than 40 percent of the 52-week high of $81.48.”