Blackwells Capital, a US-based activist investor, has joined the call by majority shareholders of IHS for reforms in the formation of the board of the African tower operator.
The New York-based activist investor is pushing for the cell-tower operator to appoint new independent directors to its board and offer investors more transparency to boost its stock price.
The latest call puts fresh pressure on HIS, which has been grappling with majority shareholders such as MTN Group and Wendel Group. While MTN owns 26 percent of the company, Wendel has 19 percent, and together both control 43 percent of IHS.
As of February, there were 87 funds and companies reporting positions in IHS, according to information on fintel.io. The institutions hold a total of 41,340,781 shares. The largest shareholders include Korea Investment CORP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, BlackRock Inc., Allspring Global Investments Holdings, LLC, Russell Investments Group, Ltd., Pentwater Capital Management LP, Duquesne Family Office LLC, Avalon Advisors, Llc, Soviero Asset Management, LP, and Millennium Management Llc.
Blackwells had in a letter transmitted to the board of directors of IHS disclosed that it was a long-term shareholder of the tower company.
“Unfortunately, we have suffered a substantial diminution in the value of our investment as IHS shares have fallen by a staggering 60 percent since the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in October 2021,” the company said.
Blackwells said changing the board formation was necessary to bring lasting changes in IHS. The investor also warned it will take every step necessary to bring about the reforms.
IHS Holding is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker IHS. On Wednesday, the share price was at $9.58, indicating an increase of 9.86 percent from its previous close at 8.72 percent. The price is, however, a long way from the $21 it opened on IPO day.
Blackwells accused IHS of lack of transparency with investors and corporate governance standards which has largely contributed to the continued decline of the share price of the company and the recent calls by MTN and Wendel for reforms.
Blackwells said it was astonished that the IHS board dismissed MTN’s and Wednel’s demands to put their proposals to a vote.
“It speaks volumes about where IHS and its Board stand on corporate governance and basic shareholder rights that shareholders with this large ownership interest are rebuffed in a manner even more dismissive than the brush-off Blackwells received last year. Given the ownership position of MTN and Wendel, Blackwells infer that these shareholders did not raise their proposal concerning Board representation for the first time at the annual meeting,” Blackwells said.
BusinessDay recently reported that IHS has engaged JP Morgan to advise it due to concerns that the angry shareholders may be planning a hostile takeover.