BET shares up on relief at disposal of Boulton

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The Independent Online
BET, the business services group, has disposed of its loss-making Boulton & Paul joinery subsidiary, three years after first putting it up for sale, writes John Murray.

The company's shares climbed 5 1/2p to 103p. One stockbroking analyst said the jump reflected relief that Boulton had been sold.

The joinery business was sold to management for pounds 14.5m, in a deal backed by Schroder Ventures.

It had net assets of pounds 32m, but lost pounds 9.5m at the trading level in the year to March 1992 on turnover of pounds 90.6m. However, pounds 3.5m of those losses were attributable to restructuring costs.

BET also announced that two other subsidiaries had been sold. Leada Acrow, a specialist plant services business, has been sold to management, for pounds 8.5m, and Initial Ireland, a textile services company, was sold to Spring Grove Services Group for pounds 3.5m.

BET is writing off pounds 31m of assets with the sales, although this has already been provided for with a pounds 90m provision made at the start of its disposals programme in 1991. The company said pounds 42m of that amount remains.

Andrew Mills, BET's corporate affairs director, said: 'These disposals raise a total of pounds 39m, if you include pounds 12m of working capital realised before the sales, and we're very pleased with that result in these conditions.

'More importantly, we have disposed of our most serious problem child in Boulton & Paul.'

Bob Carpenter, an analyst at Kleinwort Benson, said the disposals were an important step in the right direction.