Crest's tennis court business sold for pounds 1

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The Independent Online
CREST NICHOLSON, the hard-pressed housebuilding and property group, has sold En-tout-Cas, Britain's largest supplier of tennis courts, for a nominal pounds 1, writes Terence Wilkinson. The sale to Chase Montague has led to an extraordinary charge of pounds 2.4m.

News of the disposal accompanied half-time results showing a sharp reduction in losses at Crest Nicholson from pounds 33.9m to pounds 1.7m in the six months to 30 April.

The company, which paid a nominal dividend last year, says it will only consider restoring payments when the outcome for the current year is known and the trading picture for 1993 is clearer.

Last year Crest Nicholson's results were ravaged by write-downs of housing land and commercial property. The company made provisions of pounds 21m at the halfway stage, rising to pounds 39.8m by the year-end. Clive Littler, finance director, said that no further provisions had proved necessary.

Housebuilding moved from losses of pounds 5.8m, before exceptional provisions and interest, to operating profits of pounds 1.2m.

Two new non-executives have joined the Crest Nicholson board: Bob Erith, chairman of the equities group at Swiss Bank Corporation, and John Matthews, chief executive of Financiere Indosuez.