Banks agree standstill on Queens Moat

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The Independent Online
MORE than 60 banks have agreed to an eight-week standstill on interest payments on pounds 1bn of loans to the Queens Moat Houses hotel group. Payments exceeded pounds 1m a week last year.

Around 100 bankers crammed the City offices of Allen & Overy, the company's solicitors, for more than four hours yesterday afternoon. They were told the group lost moneyin 1992.

There were also rumours yesterday that the Stock Exchange was finalising an insider trading report on recent share dealings in Queens.

However, City sources said it would be 'far too premature' for the Exchange to draw any conclusions. Such a report would be routinely sent to the Department of Trade and Industry.

A statement issued late last night said: 'The all-bank meeting today was constructive and the co-ordinating banks, Barclays and National Westminster, look forward to receiving support from the group's banks.

'The point was made at the meeting that Queens Moat is a group with substantial assets and real value. There is no material short-term funding requirement.

'The need now is to stabilise the group and market sentiment while the investigating accountants prepare a full information package that will form the basis for the way ahead.'

Grant Thornton, the firm of chartered accountants, was drafted in to investigate the problems, just hours after dealings in the company's shares were suspended last Wednesday at 47.5p.

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