Netherlands aerospace subcontractor Stork has hit out at a move by prominent rebel shareholders Centaurus and Paulson to file a request for a judicial investigation into the affaires of the conglomerate.

The request by the two shareholders has been placed with the Amsterdam Enterprise Chamber of the Court of Appeals.

Investment firms Centaurus and Paulson – which together hold about a third of the company – have been at loggerheads with Stork’s supervisory board over strategy since last September.

The investment firms put forward proposals calling for the company to concentrate on aerospace and divest its other interests in September, although the board subsequently rejected them.

Relations further deteriorated shortly before the end of last year when Centaurus and Paulson called for a further extraordinary general meeting, to be held later this month, at which it will table a motion of no-confidence in the Stork supervisory board.

Stork says it has now received notification from Centaurus and Paulson that they have filed a request for a judicial inquiry into its affairs.

The two shareholders are also asking the Enterprise Chamber to take provisional measures to cancel the voting rights of the additional 30 million cumulative preference shares in Stork. These were exercised by the Stork Foundation on 19 December in the light of the no-confidence motion – to counter a “serious threat” to Stork’s development, independence and continuity – and takes Stork Foundation’s voting rights up to just under 50%.

“Stork rejects this step from Centaurus and Paulson and will strongly oppose this request at the Enterprise Chamber as it is convinced that this is not in the best interest of the company, its employees, customers, and other stakeholders,” it says