London hedge fund Carrousel Capital went on the defensive yesterday regarding its intentions toward the £398 million Gartmore European Investment Trust, a closed-end fund. In a letter to shareholders urging support for his three nominees to the trust’s board, Carrousel founder and CEO Bruno Sanglé-Ferrière said his fund, which owns nearly 30% of the trust’s shares, did not want control of the trust and would not seek to liquidate the fund.
“The Board has stated: What does Carrousel want with the Company? What do Carrousel’s nominees intend to do?” Sanglé-Ferrière wrote. “The answers are quite clear: Carrousel wants the fund to deliver real shareholder value.”
The hedge fund manager also took the board to task for refusing to release the results of a recent corporate review. “What have the Board got to hide?” he asked.
Sanglé-Ferrière warned that, while he agrees in principal with the trust’s share buyback program, he threatened to vote against the proposed reauthorization to keep that authority aware from current management, led by manager Roger Guy.
Win or lose, Sanglé-Ferrière said his days as the trust’s largest shareholder are numbered. He told Reuters that he’ll stay in for a whole “to show my support,” but that he expects to unwind his investment “by the end of the year, maybe shorter, maybe longer.”