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MARKET REPORT: Entire boardroom is purged at gas storage firm Infrastrata sending shares soaring

Gas storage firm Infrastrata steamed ahead yesterday after its entire board was purged by embittered shareholders.

More than 55 per cent of shareholders voted to remove all four of the company’s remaining board members, including former chief executive Andrew Hindle and chairman Kenneth Ratcliff.

The board’s fifth member, Anita Gardiner, resigned from Infrastrata just one day before yesterday’s extraordinary general meeting to ‘pursue new opportunities’.

They will be replaced by Adrian Pocock, who will become chief executive, and Peter Wale, who will become non-executive director and interim chairman.

Boadroom cull: More than 55 per cent of shareholders voted to remove all four of Infrastrata’s remaining board members

The pair are both Infrastrata shareholders and first called for the board to be thrown out in May.

Pocock, 58, has worked as a chartered surveyor with organisations such as the NHS, the Bank of England and British Land, while Wale, 47, is a non-executive director at miner Strategic Minerals.

Pocock said: ‘Peter and I are extremely grateful for the support of shareholders and look forward to beginning the process of validating that support by creating value for the company.’

Investors in Infrastrata have faced something of a rollercoaster ride over the past year as the firm continues to develop a gas storage facility in Northern Ireland.

In May, bosses said that it risked running out of cash by August after warning there was no certainty that rescue financing would succeed.

Waste treatment firm Nature Group sank to an all-time low yesterday after warning it is likely to need emergency funding.

But the firm was boosted after the Government announced a special £400million funding deal for infrastructure in Northern Ireland. Yesterday, shares rose 6.9 per cent, or 0.05p, to 0.78p.

In the main markets, van hire firm Northgate was the worst performer, suffering its poorest day in a year after revealing that profits fell by nearly 10 per cent in the year ended April 30.

The company saw £114.6million wiped off its value after profits fell from £82.9million to £75million due to a lower number of vehicles on hire in the UK.

Despite this, Northgate increased its full year dividend per share by 8 per cent to 16.3p. It has also restructured its UK team to support sales. But this couldn’t stop shares falling 16.2 per cent, or 86p, to 446p.

The FTSE 100 returned to the red (down 12.44 points to 7434.36) after Monday’s gains, despite miners dominating the index after iron ore prices rose by 1.4 per cent.

Glencore led the risers, up 3.8 per cent, or 10.45p, to 287.65p, while Rio Tinto rose 3.3 per cent, or 100p, to 3157p, and Anglo American jumped 3.2 per cent, or 31.5p, to 1006p.

Bookies had a tough session after analysts downgraded FTSE 250-listed William Hill to ‘sell’ from ‘hold’, and cut its price target from 279p to 245p.

Analysts said they saw further headwinds for the company after ‘punter-friendly’ sporting results over the past two months in competitions such as Royal Ascot.

They also warned that the firm could be hit by a credit betting ban in Australia and increased interrogation from UK competition authorities.

William Hill sank to a one-year low following the downgrade, dropping 4.5 per cent, or 11.7p, to 250.7p, while fellow bookies Paddy Power Betfair and Ladbrokes Coral fell 2.1 per cent, or 185p, to 8455p, and 1.1 per cent, or 1.2p, to 112.5p respectively.

The small cap index remained relatively flat despite several poor company results.

Housing and care services outsourcer Mears Group slumped 6.3 per cent, or 30.3p, at 449.75p after reporting losses in its care business, which accounts for 17 per cent of group revenues.