Stake in transport firm

Property tycoon Tchenguiz takes stake in embattled FirstGroup

FirstGroup train, First Group rail services,

First has as high profile shareholder

Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz has emerged as a shareholder in the Scottish bus and train company FirstGroup.

Mr Tchenguiz now owns a 3.2% stake in the Aberdeen-based FTSE 250 company which has succumbed to pressures for change from US activist shareholder Coast Capital.

FirstGroup last week won the West Coast rail franchise in partnership with Italy’s Trenitalia and appointed former Arriva CEO David Martin as chairman, a Coast nominee.

The reasons for Iran-born Mr Tchenguiz’s stake-building in FirstGroup are not known.

He developed a reputation as a playboy and was one of a number of high profile corporate raiders alongside Sir Tom Hunter, Sir Philip Green and the Reuben brothers who were backed by HBOS in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Mr Tchenguiz became a casualty of the crash, losing about £1 billion in property and retail investments including £390m in 2009 when he sold his 22% holding in pub chain Mitchells & Butlers to Joe Lewis, the Bahamas based billionaire.

It was rumoured that he first introduced Princess Diana to Dodi Fayed, son of the Harrod’s owner, at a New Year’s party in the exclusive Caribbean island of Barbuda.

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