Monday, 9 September 2013

Another Fidelity/Conservative snippet

Doing a bit more digging around on links between the Conservative Party and Fidelity, I came across this piece on Open Democracy (from last March) which lists peers' financial interests related to healthcare reform. It includes a little bit on Lord (Bob) Edmiston -
Lord Edmiston: Shareholdings in Bupa Finance plc where Baroness Bottomley is a director. Bupa provides health insurance, private hospital and care group in direct competition with the NHS. Shares in Fidelity International Ltd, which acquired Telehealth Solutions Ltd in 2011. Telehealth has partners in the NHS and private health-care - and has several contracts with the NHS.  Telehealth is rapidly expanding and works to give people treatment from home, and is seen by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley as a way to save the NHS millions.
A quick look on the Electoral Commission register of donations shows that Lord Edmiston (who became a Lord in 2010) has - like Fidelity - been a big Conservative donor in the past, giving them £250,000 in 2004, though donations have been rather smaller lately (£9,000 in 2011). He also famously lent the Tories money. In 2006 he was also revealed to be one of the members of the Midlands Industrial Council, a business group that funds the Tories. These financial links to the Tories meant that a few eyebrows were raised when he became a peer.

But how did he end up with shares in Fidelity International? I found this profile piece from the Birmingham Post in 2011, which looks like part of a list of top regional business leaders. In it there is reference to a sale of properties to Fidelity:
His business – the IM Group – had a difficult recession in both its car import business and property interests, affecting the value of the business. Net assets of the two sides of the group amount to around £280 million.

The Coleshill-based business sold a portfolio of properties to Fidelity International in August, and that sale realised £22.7 million. The buildings are let to 13 tenants, including Severn Trent, Allied Dunbar and Staffordshire Police as well as a range of industrial clients.
So it's possible - note: possible, I am just guessing here - that shares in Fidelity were part of the deal.

For the sake of completeness, note that Lord Edmiston's parliamentary profile does not list shares in Fidelity in his register of interests. So presumably he sold them.

UPDATE: if you scroll down here, you can see that Lord Edmiston's interest in Fidelity was deleted in 2011.

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