Beckenham seeks to raise pounds 5m

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BECKENHAM, the heating and ventilation group whose shares were suspended last month at 2.5p, has announced a reconstruction, placing and rights issue to raise pounds 5m.

The company said the alternative was insolvency, with little prospect of shareholders receiving anything. The news was accompanied by news of a pre-tax loss of pounds 4.2m for the year to 31 October against pounds 5m. Turnover fell from pounds 34m to pounds 31m.

The company has suffered three years of recession and saw a board shake-up in September in which Peter Long became chief executive. Most banking facilities were withdrawn in September, since when it has survived on short-term loans of about pounds 4m from certain shareholders, including Mr Long.

If the proposals are approved Mr Long will control 10 per cent of Beckenham and 40 per cent will be owned by family interests of Ng Lu Siong, who now holds 5 per cent.

Beckenham plans to raise pounds 3.9m by the placing of 15.6 million shares at 25p to reduce short-term loans from pounds 4.27m to pounds 831,000 and provide working capital. A further pounds 1m is being raised by a 1-for-30 rights issue at 25p for ordinary shares and a 26-for-27 rights at 25p for preference shareholders. Under a capital reconstruction every 50 ordinary shares will be consolidated into one share of 250p. Shareholders will vote on the proposals on 27 January.