Badgerline lowers its sights after Bath plan is refused permission

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The Independent Online
BADGERLINE, the bus company that recently floated on the stock market, has had to revise its 1993 results downwards by pounds 5.2m after it was refused planning permission for a site in Bath.

The company is marking down the value of its Kensington bus depot in the city, which it wanted to develop as a Safeway supermarket. The write-down reduces last year's profits to pounds 1.7m before tax.

The decision to refuse permission for the development was made by John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Environment, following a public inquiry. Mr Gummer also turned down two alternative schemes elsewhere in the city.

Trevor Smallwood, Badgerline's chairman, said: 'We are very disappointed to learn of the Secretary of State's decision. In our view this will disadvantage the residents of the east side of Bath who will be denied the benefits of a new food store in their area.

'As a consequence the audited balance sheet and profit and loss account for the group for 1993 will reflect a one-off pounds 5.2m write-down to bring the Kensington depot in line with its current market value without this planning permission.'

The potential write-down was well flagged when Badgerline reported its annual results on Monday. The market marked the company's shares down just 7p to 121p yesterday.

Mr Smallwood said the uncertainty over the site was also referred to in the company's prospectus when it floated in November.

He said the board would be examining in more detail the documentation that came with Mr Gummer's decision.

'We'll be evaluating whether the application for retail permission is dead and we'll look at whether we want to concentrate on making operational savings at the depot without relocating it,' he said.