280,000 pounds pay-offs to directors keep clothing firm in the red

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HOLLAS, the clothing company rejuvenated by a rights issue in March, has continued making losses.

Compensation payments totalling pounds 280,000 kept Hollas in the red. The primary beneficiary of the pay-offs was Roger Wallwork, the finance director, who resigned last autumn. Jaymin Trivedi, another director, left in February.

Julian Lee, the new chief executive, said Mr Wallwork had a three-year rolling contract. He added that replacement directors worked with 12-month contracts.

Operating profit before the compensation payments was broadly flat at pounds 936,000 compared with pounds 1.02m last time. The company's pre-tax loss for the year to 31 March was pounds 78,000. In 1993 Hollas's losses were pounds 7.6m but the picture was worsened by asset write-downs.

Hollas raised pounds 18m in March to fund two acquisitions. The purchases came too late to affect the figures published yesterday.

Mr Lee came to Hollas from Bricom, the conglomerate once owned by British & Commonwealth. He was made chief executive in October and bought a 5 per cent stake at 22p. Shares jumped to 35p shortly after Mr Lee's appointment. The rights issue was pitched at 25p and the shares were unchanged yesterday at 29p.

Mr Lee is using Hollas as a vehicle to enter the health and safety market. He said yesterday that his first task was to reorganise Hollas's textiles operations. The fabric producer Textilion was bought in March to complement the Hollas business.

The company also bought JB Hunter which, through its subsidiary Edward Macbean, makes the reflective vests and coats used by the emergency services.

The loss per share was 0.12p compared with a 12.3p loss last time. Hollas cut the final dividend to 0.3p from 0.6p, making 0.6p for the year compared with 1.2p.