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South African billionaire in bid to take control of Minerva group

Julia Kollewe The Observer
Minerva development of St Botolph's in the City of London. The group's biggest shareholder South African billionaire Nathan Kirsh is moving to take control of the group. Photograph: Alamy

Minerva development of St Botolph's in the City of London. The group's biggest shareholder South African billionaire Nathan Kirsh is moving to take control of the group. Photograph: Alamy


An emergency shareholder meeting at property developer Minerva this week will pit its biggest shareholder Nathan Kirsh against the company's management. Kirsh may not be well known in the UK, but the South African billionaire could be about to take control of some of London's most prestigious buildings and a vast chunk of Croydon town centre.



The 78-year-old businessman is a 29.5% shareholder in Minerva through his investment vehicle KiFin, and at an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday Kirsh will try to oust the company's management and unearth more details of a refinancing Minerva carried out last year.

KiFin's deputy chairman is Ron Sandler, the government-appointed non-executive chairman of Northern Rock and adviser to former prime minister Gordon Brown. Sandler, an old family friend of Kirsh, says he is a "sounding board" and adviser to the tycoon.


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