May 24, 2017 / 9:15 AM / 3 years ago

Grammer rejects call to replace AGM chairman in shareholder tussle

AMBERG, Germany, May 24 (Reuters) - German automotive supplier Grammer’s management braced for a showdown with Bosnian investor group Cascade Investment at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, rejecting a demand to replace the chairman of the AGM.

Rival investor groups are using the tumultuous shareholder meeting to vie for control over embattled Grammer, which counts large German carmakers including Volkswagen among its customers.

A Bosnian investor group, controlled by the Hastor family has accumulated a stake of around 20 percent in Grammer, and has demanded three seats on the supervisory board while criticising the group’s management and cost structure.

Grammer responded by welcoming a rival auto supplier group from China, Ningbo Jifeng, as a potential white knight. Investment vehicles affiliated with the Chinese group now hold a stake of about 15.1 percent in Grammer.

Cascade Investment International GmbH, a company controlled by the Hastor family, has accused Grammer’s management of market manipulation to help Ningbo Jifeng build a stake.

Grammer rejects the accusation but has warned that the Bavarian automotive interiors maker would see business suffer if the Bosnians increased their influence.

Last year a dispute between two suppliers controlled by the Hastor family, CarTrim and ES Automobilguss, escalated and led to a production halt at Volkswagen. (Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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