Tata Steel Shareholders Vote to Remove Director Wadia From Board

  • Britannia Industries chairman didn’t attend investor meeting
  • Steelmaker has been a lightning rod in Mistry-Tata feud

Shareholders of Tata Steel Ltd., the flagship company of India’s biggest conglomerate, voted to remove independent director Nusli Wadia from its board as Ratan Tata tightens his grip on the business empire his family founded.

About 91 percent of the total votes polled favored the expulsion of Wadia at an extraordinary general meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday, the company said in an exchange filing the following day. Wadia -- chairman of Britannia Industries Ltd. and patriarch of India’s oldest conglomerate -- didn’t attend the meeting though a letter from him was read to investors.

Wadia has sided with Cyrus Mistry since his surprise ouster in October as chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., the holding company of India’s largest business group. Tata Steel, the nation’s most-indebted steelmaker, has been a lightning rod in the feud between Tata and Mistry as the two traded accusations over missteps at the salt-to-software empire. Shareholders will hardly see any returns from the company’s 2007 acquisition of Corus Group Plc, which was the largest acquisition by an Indian company at the time, Wadia said in his letter Wednesday.

Investors in Tata Motors Ltd. and Tata Chemicals Ltd. will consider Wadia’s position on their boards this week. Mistry himself resigned as director of Tata group companies on the eve of the shareholder meetings to remove him and filed a case with the National Company Law Tribunal.

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