Octavian Takes Activist Approach To Canadian, German Firms

Dec 13 2011 | 11:10am ET

Richard Hurowitz, CEO and CIO of the $1 billion hedge fund Octavian Advisors, is trying his hand at activism.

Hurowitz is taking on the boards of Toronto water heater rental and submetering firm EnerCare and the German medical and electronics manufacturer Balda.

Octavian is EnerCare’s largest investor, with a 13% stake. According to Reuters, the hedge fund accuses EnerCare’s management of failing to address the company’s poor performance, refusing to sell the company when it could and launching a dilutive and unnecessary offering. Octavian has called for a special meeting of EnerCare shareholders to add four directors to the company's six-member board.

Octavian has also trained its sights on Balda, where it says top shareholder Michael Chiang is in conflict of interest as he owns 25% of TPK Holding, a producer of touch screens for iPhones and iPads in which Balda holds a 16.1% stake. Hurowitz says that stake should have been sold and that delays have cost Balda shareholders €350 million, reports Reuters.

Balda management released a statement saying: "Upon receipt of the original of the request to call (an extraordinary general meeting), the management board of Balda AG will assess whether the request is to be accepted.”

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