Bottom Line: Hoskins must end feud

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The Independent Online
HOSKINS Brewery has a dreadful record as a quoted company, stumbling from one calamity to the next with seemingly total disregard for shareholders' interests.

The shares have been suspended for nearly three months. In that short time the boardroom has been torn apart by a row that has scuppered a takeover approach from Adam Page, and subsequently led to the unhealthy formation of a dissident army of shareholders.

Barrie Hoar, chairman, and his brother Robert, who have an interest in 26 per cent of the shares, have to shoulder much of the blame. They have sold off the bulk of the company's silver by disposing of pubs to clear debt when interest rates started to fall, leaving it dangerously short of direction in a fast-changing and increasingly competitive market.

Hoskins appears to be run more on the lines of a private, rather than a public, company. The open feud between the brothers Hoar and David Shaw, ousted as a director last month, is no way to carry on.

Shareholders are now told that the brothers Hoar are in discussions with an un- named third party that may lead to the appointment of new directors. Coincidentally, Richard Holden, current lead dissident shareholder, has agreed to freeze his call for a showdown meeting to remove the Hoars.

Hoskins' directors have pulled the shutters down on the outside world, opting to communicate through a company spokesman who, understandably, can do little more than answer questions with the immortal words 'no comment'.

With or without the threatened extraordinary meeting, Hoskins would be best served if the Hoars left as soon as possible.

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