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National Express rights issue not supported by Cosmen family

National Express, the indebted UK-transport company, announced this morning it is to proceed with a £360 million rights issue despite a lack of support for the move from the group's largest shareholder, the Cosmen family.

In a statement released this morning, National Express said it was struggling with debts of approximately £1.1 billion and it hoped to use the proceeds of the rights issue to reduce debt to a more manageable level.

It also said: "While the board has resolved to proceed with the rights issue, one of the directors, Mr Jorge Cosmen, did not vote in favour of the relevant board resolutions required in connection with its implementation.

"Mr Cosmen has advised the board that he feels, in accordance with his duties as a director of the company, that the rights issue is not in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders."

The Cosmen family made it clear last month it was unhappy that National Express had terminated talks with rival transport company Stagecoach over a possible merger. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

Jorge Cosmen (pictured), who serves as deputy chairman of National Express, was then forced to announce publicly he was not planning to resign from the company over the family's position. (Click here to read our coverage of the story

The rights issue comes after a consortium, lead by the Cosmen family, withdrew their takeover bid for National Express in mid-October. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

The Cosmen family 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 holdings to 18.5%.

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