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Activist fund IsZo pushes for special meeting at Nam Tai to refresh board -letter

Activist investor IsZo Capital Management wants to install six new directors at Nam Tai Property Inc to help the China-based real estate company perform better and is asking other shareholders for help in calling a special meeting.

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON, July 20 (Reuters) - Activist investor IsZo Capital Management wants to install six new directors at Nam Tai Property Inc NTP.N to help the China-based real estate company perform better and is asking other shareholders for help in calling a special meeting.

IsZo, a New York-based firm with roughly $100 million in assets, is taking on Nam Tai, a nearly $300 million company which invests in and develops properties in China. The company counts index fund heavyweights BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard and the California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, as investors.

The activist, which owns 9.8% of Nam Tai, wrote to others Monday to try and rally a group who own 30% of the outstanding shares to join a call for a special meeting.

In the letter, seen by Reuters, IsZo's founding partner, Brian Sheehy, accused the board of conflicts of interest, backing a questionable acquisition strategy and having no credible plan to boost Nam Tai's share price, which has tumbled 25% in the last 12 months.

A representative for Nam Tai did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter said if investors succeeded in getting a meeting they could then "remove five of the incumbent directors ... and appoint IsZo's six highly qualified and independent director candidates."

IsZo's directors would bring real estate expertise, experience operating in China and capital allocation and transaction acumen to the board, the letter said.

Sheehy said Nam Tai's biggest investor, Kaisa Group Holdings, has helped stack the board and management suite with insiders. Nam Tai's CEO, Ying Chi Kwok, is the younger brother of Kaisa's chief executive.

"We believe reconstituting the Board and removing Kaisa insiders from leadership roles at Nam Tai is the only way to end this dangerous and destructive tailspin," the letter said.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

((svea.herbst@thomsonreuters.com; +617 856 4331; Reuters Messaging: svea.herbst.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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