Anglia looks to bank for rescue after annual loss

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The Independent Online
ANGLIA Secure Homes, the retirement homes specialist in which former BM chairman Roger Shute recently bought a 5 per cent stake, is talking to its bankers about a rescue that could involve hiving off its Haven elderly care business.

The group lost pounds 15.5m in the year to September, down from pounds 17m, partly because of a pounds 9.7m land provision. That has slashed shareholders' funds from pounds 15.9m to just pounds 400,000, compared with borrowings of pounds 25.2m, down from pounds 29.5m at the beginning of the year.

Under the proposals being discussed with bankers, the property assets and associated debt will be separated from the Haven businesses, which manage retirement homes for Anglia and other companies. Peter Edmondson, Anglia's chairman, said these businesses would form the focus for development.

Haven Services is 49.9 per cent owned by Commercial Union following a financial restructuring in 1990, which also left the insurer with a 12 per cent stake in the group. Haven Healthcare, which has five contracts to build and operate nursing homes for local authorities, is 72 per cent owned by Anglia's venture capital partner, Nash Sells & Partners. According to Mr Edmondson, the group's bankers are 'broadly supportive' of the proposals. He hopes to finalise the discussions within the next few weeks.

The shares dropped 2p to 6.5p, valuing the group at just pounds 2.1m. Mr Shute, who said in January that he believed Anglia was undervalued, paid 4.5p a share.