Bottom Line: Missing information

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The Independent Online
YESTERDAY'S sharp fall in Bilton's share price was a justifiably churlish response to an unexpected drop in the property company's net assets.

While it is perfectly within the rules not to have called in external valuers since 1989 it is, to say the least, unusual for a publicly quoted property company with a market value of pounds 260m not to provide such basic information.

At least, on the basis of an 8 per cent yield, it brings the company's portfolio valuation into line with similar companies and ends the uncertainty that surrounded its recent internal audits.

The rising valuations of 1991 and 1992 were plainly premised on yields which bore no relation to the reality of the property market at the bottom of the slump.

Having more than doubled last year, Bilton's shares have now fallen by a fifth in two months. Until the company communicates more with the outside world and provides the information investors need to make reliable judgements the ride will get no smoother.