The Cosmen family, the largest shareholder in the indebted UK transport group National Express, has increased its stake in the company to just under 20%.
Last night the family bought an additional 750,000 shares, increasing its holding to 19.5%. A family spokesperson said it intended to show the family is "committed and long-term shareholders in National Express."
The move comes just days before National Express is due to hold an extraordinary general meeting to decide whether to go ahead with a £360 million rights issue. National Express needs the support of 50% of its board, which includes Jorge Cosmen (pictured) who serves as deputy chairman, to push it through. If the family does not subscribe to the rights issue, it will lose its board seat due to the subsequent dilution of its shareholding.
The Cosmen family have openly opposed the rights issue, saying it would prefer the business to explore other options, including a proposed merger with rival transport group Stagecoach, which National Express rejected last month. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)
Jorge Cosmen 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 was proposed after a consortium, lead by the Cosmens, withdrew their own 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 holding gradually.
Want to get the latest family business/family office news direct to your desktop? Click here to register to receive our weekly newsletter
Are you a member of a multigenerational family business or family office? Click here to subscribe to our magazines