Bottom Line: Spring Ram may not get a third chance

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IT LOOKS ominous for Spring Ram and its investors. Stock market confidence in the kitchen and bathroom company, already dented, evaporated yesterday as it delayed publication of its 1992 results and asked for trading in its shares to be suspended.

Spring Ram seemed to be recovering its high-flying image, which suffered after disclosures last November that serious irregularities had been uncovered at its Balterley Bathrooms subsidiary.

Its management, in a damage limitation exercise, visited 40 institutions and invited analysts up to Leeds for briefings. Profit forecasts for 1992 and 1993 confidently predicted continuing dramatic growth.

An explanation from Spring Ram about yesterday's move is expected shortly. If it is bad news the company will not be given - nor deserve to be given - a third chance.

Spring Ram boasted that as recession bit between 1988 and 1992 its turnover rose a staggering 223 per cent from pounds 60m to pounds 194m and profits more than doubled from pounds 16m to an equally impressive pounds 37m.

What it could not answer to everyone's satisfaction was how it managed such enviable growth in the teeth of the worst downturn for the building industry in living memory.

Investors should insist that a company provides detailed explanation of its performance. Otherwise its shares should not be given a premium rating.