BTR relinquishes its 17% stake in Meggitt

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The Independent Online
SMITH New Court netted pounds 370,000 yesterday by successfully placing BTR's entire stake in the aerospace engineer and controls group Meggitt. BTR held 37 million Meggitt shares, representing 17.2 per cent of the company.

A spokesman for Meggitt, which instigated the deal, squashed market speculation that the removal of BTR's holding meant a large acquisition or rights issue was imminent. Ken Coates, Meggitt's chairman and chief executive, said last week that there were no deals in the pipeline.

Analysts said that getting rid of the overhanging shares could widen Meggitt's opportunities as the company would no longer have to clear any plans with its main shareholder.

It was thought unlikely that the deal would give much of a boost to Meggitt's share price, however, because of remaining worries about the aerospace industry and Meggitt's exposure to Europe. The shares ended yesterday up 0.5p at 101p.

BTR has held its stake since it accepted shares from Meggitt as part of a takeover bid in 1986 for Bestobell, the engineering company.

Smith New Court acquired the 37 million shares from BTR yesterday for 100p, selling them on for 101p to a mixture of existing shareholders and new investors.

The value of BTR's stake has fallen 7 per cent over the last seven years. Meggitt's shares were worth 109p at the end of September 1986, since when they have underperformed the rest of the market by almost 50 per cent.