Hopes that Brickworks would buckle quickly to investor pressure for a restructure have been rebuffed, with the status quo of a blocking cross shareholding with investor Washington H. Soul Pattinson to remain.

Even so, Brickworks director Robert Webster said the door was open to discussing future options for the group.

Institutional investor Perpetual, which has a 12 per cent stake in Brickworks, has been pressuring the board to review its longstanding cross shareholding with Soul Pattinson, to help improve shareholder returns.

Soul Pattinson has a 44.5 per cent stake in Brickworks which in turn, holds 42.7 per cent of Soul Pattinson. Perpetual is also a large investor in Soul Pattinson, with a 12.2 per cent stake.

On Monday, Melbourne banker Mark Carnegie took an option over Perpetual’s holding in Soul Pattinson as dissident investors ramp up their efforts to force a restructure.

At today’s annual general meeting of Brickworks, shareholders were told independent directors of the company, led by Robert Webster, had reviewed a range of options such as an in specie distribution of the company’s holding in Soul Pattinson to shareholders, but decided to maintain the present structure.

‘‘There is no realistic restructure within the control of Brickworks that will unequivocally improve shareholder value,’’ Mr Webster said, while some options ‘‘would actually reduce value for Brickworks’’.

‘‘This includes crystallising unrealised taxes that will unlikely be payable under the current structure.

‘‘The existing structure has delivered strong shareholder returns compared to the all ordinaries accumulation index. Thirdly, in the current economic environment, there is more upside for Brickworks shareholders from focusing on improving the performance of our core businesses.’’

‘‘The door’s not shut ... and will remain open,’’ Mr Webster said following questioning from Mr Matt Williams, a fund manager with Perpetual.

This was the first time ‘‘there has been a glimmer of movement .. of the independent directors in assessing potential options for the company and talking about those options,’’ Mr Williams said of the review by independent directors.

The review had only looked at any restructure ‘‘within the control of Brickworks’’, Mr Webster said.

A broader review of the cross holdings between Brickworks and Soul Pattinson would need to be undertaken if any change is to occur.

Mr Webster refused to release publicly the advice received of the various restructuring options, claiming it was ‘‘commercial in confidence’’.