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Charter board in fight for control of trust

The board of Charter European trust is calling on its investors to square up to three of its giant shareholders who want to take over its management.

A battle has broken out over the £450m trust after shareholders Henderson, Standard Life and Equitable Life proposed last month to oust current manager Dresdner RCM and put the trust in Henderson&#39s control.

Charter&#39s board is fighting back, rejecting the Henderson bid and proposing an alternative for saving the trust.

The board is the underdog, as the three major shareholders own 29 per cent of the trust.

The board is urging smaller shareholders to vote at the trust&#39s EGM in March and even hopes to persuade Standard and Equitable to back them.

Under Charter&#39s offer, investors can get 100 per cent of their shares back as cash or can roll their investment in a new pan-European investment managed by Dresdner.

Henderson is offering a 75 per cent cash exit to shareholders and will merge Charter with its Eurotrust. It maintains that its proposals are still more competitive.

Charter director John Youngman says: “Henderson&#39s proposals offer less cash to shareholders and potentially force them into a vehicle with a materially different investment policy.”

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