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Cosmens participate in National Express rights issue

The Cosmen family, the largest shareholder in the indebted UK-transport group National Express, did participate in the company's rights issue on Tuesday despite campaigning against it for the last two months.

The Spanish-based family spent £74 million on shares ensuring their majority stake was not diluted by the rights issue, which is intended to ease the debt burden on the transport company.

National Express saw a 90% take up of the £360 million cash call by shareholders, a successful step for the business in its attempts at debt restructuring.

If the Cosmen family had refused to participate in the share sale, as was expected after it publicly voted against the measure, it would have lost its seat on the board currently held by Jorge Cosmen. (Click here to read our coverage of the build up to the rights issue)

The family also made it clear in October it was unhappy that National Express had terminated merger talks with rival transport group Stagecoach. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

However, the family increased its shareholding in the company during the build up to the rights issue vote in order to prove it is a "committed and long-term shareholder in National Express." The announcement yesterday is further proof the family intends to remain involved in National Express.

The Cosmens first became involved with the transport group in 2005 when National Express purchased the Cosmen family coach business, Alsa. As part of the deal the Cosmens gained a 10% stake in National Express and have since increased their holding to 19.7%. Jorge Cosmen (pictured) took the family seat on the board and now serves as deputy chairman.

Debt restructuring became necessary for National Express after cash acquisitions of both Alsa and another Spanish coach operator Continental Auto pushed the company into £1.1 billion of debt. 

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