City File: Failed disposals likely to lower Rank

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RANK has always denied it was planning to sell its film division, despite claims by a consortium led by Chemical Bank that it was negotiating to buy the Odeon cinema and movie catalogue subsidiary. Now Chemical seems ready to throw in the towel.

More worrying for Rank, talks about selling its three London hotels for more than pounds 150m have also collapsed, following the problems at rival hotel group, Queens Moat Houses.

Rank has its annual get-together with City analysts on Thursday. If past form is anything to go by, the session will result in a couple of downgradings and more dark rumblings about the company's debts. The shares, at 710p, look inexpensive, but they may be cheaper later this week.