Ferrexpo swaps PR in midst of share rift

FTSE 250 mining firm Ferrexpo has switched PR agencies as it remains locked in a battle with dissident shareholders.

The firm has dropped Finsbury and instead turned to Pelham PR. The move comes just two weeks after PRWeek revealed that dissident shareholders Ralkon Commercial and Fayver Properties had brought in Hogarth PR.

Ferrexpo has changed its adviser after a six-way pitch that is understood to have included Brunswick and College Hill.

Charles Vivian, director at Pelham, said the account was put out to pitch before news of the disagreement over its planned share buy-back broke. But he added that communications work around the shareholder action would be integral to the brief.

'A sizable chunk of our pitch centred on how we could help the company with this issue,' said Vivian. 'It is at the forefront of the company's mind.'

The battle pits two Ukrainian oligarchs against each other. The activist shareholders, who own ten per cent of Ferrexpo, are controlled by billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, while Ferrexpo's chief executive, the similarly wealthy Kostyantin Zhevago, holds a controlling stake.

Kolomoisky wrote a letter to fellow shareholders last month outlining 'serious concerns' about the share buy-back and its impact on shareholders.

He also proposed that two of his close business associates should be appointed to the board at the firm's general meeting in London on 12 June. The board has already dismissed the proposal, which has very little chance of success, but the move looks set to keep the row at the top of the agenda.

Ferrexpo's headquarters are in Switzerland. The company is listed in London, but its iron-ore mining assets are all located in the Ukraine.

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