August 20, 2019 / 7:42 AM / 3 months ago

Activist Bramson still pushing for Barclays overhaul

LONDON (Reuters) - Activist investor Edward Bramson, who lost his battle for a seat on the board of Barclays (BARC.L) in May, is still pushing to overhaul the British lender, a report from his investment vehicle Sherborne Investors (SIGC.L) shows.

The logo of Barclays is seen on the top of one of its branch in Madrid, Spain, March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

Bramson failed in his bid for a seat after shareholders voted against his attempt to downsize Barclays’ under-fire investment bank from within.

But in a half-year report published on Tuesday, investment vehicle Sherborne Investors C said it had advised the Barclays board that pursuing its strategy could boost the bank’s “financial strength and long-term competitive position” and increase shareholder value.

“The investment manager’s present intention is to continue its dialogue with Barclays for as long as it appears to be appropriate to do so,” it said.

Sherborne Investors C owned 5.48% of Barclays as of May 10, the report said. The stake is worth around 1.3 billion pounds ($1.57 billion).

New York-based Bramson has made no public statements on his Barclays plans since the bank’s annual investor meeting in May where he conceded he had failed to sway enough shareholders to his position.

He told reporters on the sidelines of that meeting that he disagreed with giving the bank’s board more time to improve the investment bank’s returns.

Barclays executives have been buoyed by robust performance at its investment bank relative to its European peers in recent quarters, although the unit still makes lower returns than its consumer and credit card businesses.

In results for the first six months of this year, Sherborne C reported a slim profit of 1.2 million pounds, helped by a 3.5 million pound windfall from Barclays dividend payments.

Sherborne has made huge losses overall since first disclosing its position in Barclays last year as the bank’s share price has fallen, reporting a 219 million pound loss for 2018.

Barclays’ share price is down 6.6% year to date.

Reporting by Iain Withers; editing by Rachel Armstrong and Jason Neely

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