Capital Corp shareholders seek new bid

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The Independent Online
Some institutional shareholders in Capital Corporation are hoping for a fresh bid for the casino group as they remain unhappy about its performance and the progress made by new management.

The comments come two days after Capital was rescued from a pounds 192m bid by London Clubs International after Margaret Beckett, President of the Board of the Trade, blocked the deal on competition grounds.

One shareholder said: "Have this management delivered the results? I don't think so." The shareholders said another bid was possible from groups such as Ladbroke or Rank.

The comments came as Capital Corporation tried to clear its name yesterday as damaging allegations made about its business continued to circulate. Alan Hearn, chief executive, said the company was prepared to go to court to contest any possible action by a group of disgruntled former employees.

It added that it was reserving judgement on whether it might take legal action against the group.

Eleven staff left Capital Corporation's head office in April, during the LCI bid. Kenneth Thompson, the former acting chief executive, decided not to seek election in May while Desmond Pereira, former finance director, left acrimoniously during the same month. It is understood Mr Pereira is considering legal action.

Capital Corporation has been the subject of severe criticism about the stringency of its internal controls.

The company said yesterday that suggestions made in a gaming report by consultants Tottenham & Co last year had been largely implemented and that its controls had been endorsed by its auditors and by the Gaming Board in the MMC report on the LCI bid.

It said the allegations pre-dated existing management and that in addition to a new chief executive and finance director the group had appointed Mike Hoskins, former head of the clubs and vice squad of the Metropolitan Police as head of security and compliance.