THE struggle for control of Scots transport giant FirstGroup continued yesterday as the investor trying to topple its board ramped up its campaign.

US-based Coast Capital Management, which holds a 10% stake in FirstGroup, has launched a 24-page volley at its top team on a website created just for the purpose.

A message on promises to “debunk myths” and rebut “false claims” made by what it calls a “destructive” board and “unqualified” chief executive officer, Matthew Gregory.

READ MORE: FirstGroup hits out at largest shareholder

Coast aims to remove Gregory, chairman Wolfhart Hauser and four other board members, replacing them with five of its own nominees.

Shareholders will vote on that on Tuesday and First, which is based in Aberdeen, says the potential replacements are not up to the task.

At the end of May, FirstGroup announced plans to sell UK bus divisions and potentially withdraw from rail operations – which used to include ScotRail but are now made up of a clutch of English regional franchises – in order to refocus on its North American activity.

It also plans to sell off long-distance coach line Greyhound after making a £98 million pre-tax loss.

Shares in FirstGroup have fallen by 14% since that strategy was revealed to the public and Coast argues that “real and lasting cultural and organisational change “ is needed.

However, FirstGroup, which has defended Gregory, has stated that Coast’s intended changes are “not in the best interests of the company, its shareholders as a whole or its wider stakeholders” and insists the current board “has the right strategy to take the business forward”.

The Coast letter states: “The current board and management team’s hastily patched and fundamentally flawed ‘strategy’ is to conduct a fire sale of UK bus, exit underperforming Greyhound (without even attempting to improve the performance of the former), and manage the US student operations from the UK.

Meanwhile, the current unfit management has operated these assets at lower margins than peers, and with higher accident rates.

“The North American businesses have been lethargic in technological adoption, and their procurement programmes are a laughing stock in the industry.

“Coast has presented a full, and operationally focused, value creation plan which would address all of these issues.”

Now listed on London’s FTE250 stock exchange, FirstGroup was formed in the aftermath of the deregulation of transport networks in the 1980s.

Ex-chief executive Sir Moir Lochhead spent 21 years there, building turnover to £6 billion by the time he retired in 2010.