Russian steel tycoon Viktor Vekselberg has acquired a 20.46 percent stake in Swiss steelmaker Schmolz+Bickenbach (STLN:SW), the company's chair announced Sunday.
The move, which was made during a Friday shareholder meeting, forced the chairman of the indebted company to announce his resignation and ends a long-running power struggle between the board of directors and the company's founders' descendants, who have been battling over restructuring for months.
"There will be a new general meeting and a new board of directors with (Vekselberg's) Renova as dominating shareholder," Schmolz+Bickenbach's chairman Hans-Rudolf Zehnder said in a statement published in Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag on Sunday. "I will be gone then."
Renova and Schmolz+Bickenbach GmbH & Co KG (S+B KG) now own 40.46 percent of Schmolz+Bickenbach combined, which under Swiss law forces Vekselberg to offer to buy the remaining shares.
Following decisions taken at Friday's shareholder meeting, S+B KG said Saturday that Lucerne, Switzerland's commercial registry office had granted its request to block new entries to the steelmaker's share register. This includes a 330 million Swiss rights issue, worth $348.8 million, approved by shareholders on Friday that was to be executed by the board of directors and re-elected chairman Zehnder, according to Reuters.
Ahead of the shareholder meeting, another major shareholder in Schmolz+Bickenbach, board member Gerold Buettiker's Gebuka, obtained a court order to allow S+B KG to vote with only 20.46 percent of its shares instead of the 40.46 percent it owned, because the remaining 20 percent are tied into a shareholders' agreement with Gebuka.
S+B KG said because it could only vote with about half of its shares, it had a decisive influence on the outcome of the shareholders' votes on Friday. Renova said it did not want to increase its stake further and hoped existing shareholders would keep their shares.
Malik Singleton covers manufacturing and other economic news. His previous roles were with City Limits, TIME.com, Black Enterprise and PCMag.com. He is an adjunct at CUNY's...