High flying Brits seeking control of Ascot Holdings

 Some high flyers from the British share industry are associated with the push by a Mauritius based company and a related party to gain control of the Colombo incorporated Ascot Holdings PLC through a forthcoming mandatory offer at Rs. 42.50 a share, a circular to shareholders on the offer reveals.

Ascot (once Asian Cotton Mills in which the late H.W. Jayewardene had an interest and of which the late AYS Gnanam was Managing Director) owns a property on TB Jayah Mawatha (Darley Road). It realized the value of plant equipment and Ratmalana real estate belonging to its predecessor to acquire this property.

The offerors are Eighth Wonder, a Mauritius registered company, and Ian Joseph McVeigh, a British citizen.

They together with Archie James Buckland Warman also of British nationality with a World Trade Center address here and a Lankan, Mohamed Hisham Jamaldeen of Kollupitiya, on Oct. 24 acquired nearly 5.7 million shares of Ascot constituting approximately 44.98% of that company at prices not exceeding Rs. 42.50 per share.

Eighth Wonder took the lion’s share (24.52%), McVeigh 11.63% and Jamaldeen 5.51%.

The shareholder circular describes Eighth Wonder as a private company incorporated in Mauritius in August 2016 with three directors Terence Charles Smith, a Briton, Mohammed Irfaan Asaad Hossany, a Mauritius passport holder with a Sharjah address Maria Teresa de Freitas with Smith as the sole shareholder of the company.

He had worked for the Barclays Bank for nine years since graduating in history from University College Cardiff in 1974 qualifying as an associate of Chartered Institute of bankers in 1976 and taking an MBA from The Management College, Henley in 1979.

He worked as a stockbroker from W. Greenwell and Co in 1984 and was the top-rated bank analyst in London from 1984-89. He became head of UK Company Research at UBC Phillips and Drew in 1990, a position from which he was dismissed in 1992 following the publication of his best selling book "Accounting for Growth."

He joined Collin Stewart shortly after, becoming a director in 1996. In 2000 he became Chief Executive and led the management buyout of Collin Stewart which was floated on the London Stock Exchange five months later.

In 2003 Collin Stewart acquired Tullet Liberty and followed this with the acquisition of the Prebon Group creating the world’s second largest inter-dealer broker. Colling Stewart and Tullet Prebon were de-merged in 2006 with Smith remaining CEO of Tullet Prebon until Sept, 2014.

In 2010 he founded Fundsmith where he is CEO and CIO.

McVeigh has been awarded the sole management of the Jupiter UK Growth Fund when he joined the group in 2003.

He holds the position of Head of Governance. Prior to that, he managed Jupiter UK Growth Fund (Unit Trust) and institutional assets.

Notwithstanding the rules, the offerors have declared that they will pay for any shares tendered by way of a valid acceptance of the offer at the price offered. A detailed mandatory offer will go out to shareholders on or before Nov. 28.

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