Amigo Holdings PLC founder instructs broker to sell entire stake if company

A vehicle controlled by James Benamor has instructed the broker to sell 1% of the lender every trading day until its stake reaches zero if the bid to oust the directors fails on June 17

() said it has received a notification that a vehicle controlled by its founder James Benamor will sell his entire 61% stake in the guarantor loans provider if the current board remain in place following a general meeting on June 17.

Richmond Group Limited, Benamor’s vehicle, has placed all of its shares with a broker with irrevocable instructions to sell 1% of the company every trading day until its stake reaches zero, adding that there are no circumstances in which these instructions can be cancelled or amended.

READ: Amigo Loans facing FCA probe as row with founder ratchets up another notch

The brinksmanship is another step in an escalating feud between Benamor and the company’s board, with the firm having applied for a High Court injunction on Monday to stop him using his stake to replace the board with his own nominees.

The lender has also said that its current board is prepared to step down if the change is carried out by orderly succession, adding they have no interest in prolonging their appointment, but said Richmond Group was not abiding by a relationship agreement entered into in June 2018.

Benamor, who founded the lender in 2005 but stepped back from day-to-day business in 2015 and resigned as a director not long after 2018’s initial public offer, forced his way back onto the board in December as a non-independent, non-executive director through an apparent boardroom coup.

Since then, Benamor has said the firm is “committing slow motion suicide” and that it has been lending “almost entirely in a way that matched their own complaints team’s definition of ‘irresponsible’”.

The founder also said he is now a “willing seller” of his 61% stake, a threat he now seems prepared to make good on if his plans to oust the board fail later this month.

The company is now also facing a regulatory probe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into its creditworthiness assessment process from November 2018.

Amigo put itself up for sale in January and said discussions are continuing with a prospective buyer, however that has not stopped the shares plunging around 75% since the start of the year.

In late afternoon trading on Friday, the shares were down 2.9% at 17.6p.

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