Attwoods pushed into loss: Mindis division to be sold after incurring pounds 91m provision

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ATTWOODS, the waste management company where Sir Denis Thatcher is deputy chairman, has made a provision of pounds 91m to cover losses on its investment in the Mindis recyclables processing and marketing division just four years after buying it.

After the provision the company made a pre-tax loss of pounds 62.2m and a loss per share of 25.25p in the year to 31 July.

It is selling Mindis for dollars 40m ( pounds 26.3m) to MAC, a company part- owned by Jonathan Imerman and Byron Kopman. They are respectively the chief executive and chief operating officer of Mindis who sold it to Attwoods in the first place.

Ken Foreman, Attwoods' chairman, said Mindis was being sold to stem the losses caused by tumbling non-ferrous metal prices and because it was no longer considered of strategic importance. When it was bought Attwoods expected that ability to sell household recyclables would be crucial to winning municipal waste collection contracts.

In the two years ended 31 July 1992 and 1993, Mindis has seen pre- tax losses of dollars 3.7m and dollars 10.6m respectively and operating cash outflows of dollars 24.1m and dollars 3.3m.

MAC will pay dollars 15m to Attwoods for the share capital of Mindis and a further dollars 25m that will be used to repay some of Mindis's borrowings. In addition, Attwoods will have no responsibility for Mindis's remaining dollars 15m debt.

Attwoods will also be entitled to cash payments of 15 per cent of Mindis's aggregate profits after tax, if any, during the next five years.

After the sale of Mindis, which is awaiting shareholder approval at an extraordinary meeting on 29 October, Attwoods will have gearing of 49 per cent compared with 69.5 per cent.

Attwoods' turnover has climbed from pounds 340.9m in the 1991-92 financial year to pounds 410m this time. The dividend is held at 5p. The shares were unchanged at 123p.