DAF tells investors they get nothing: Trucks group is to go into liquidation

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The Independent Online
SHAREHOLDERS and unsecured creditors of DAF, the failed Anglo- Dutch trucks group, were told yesterday that the company was about to be put into liquidation and that they would receive no compensation.

The announcement came at a sometimes rowdy eight-hour annual meeting in Eindhoven attended by an estimated 700 shareholders. The meeting was also told that DAF cut its losses last year to 257m guilders ( pounds 95.5m) from 395m in 1991.

Despite the reduced losses and the resurrection of the failed business under the guise of DAF Trucks, Louis Deterink, one of the two Dutch administrators, said that shareholders, including British Aerospace with an 11 per cent holding, would get nothing.

Cor Baan, DAF's chairman, told shareholders that an operating profit of 22m guilders in 1992 was more than wiped out by interest charges and losses elsewhere including a 130m guilder loss at DAF Finance.

He also sought to defuse shareholder anger by conceding that the board had to shoulder some of the blame for DAF's collapse by embarking on an over-ambitious product expansion. 'In retrospect, we should perhaps ask ourselves whether the cost of developing these commercial vehicles . . . did not after all make too great a claim on the financing scope of the company.'

Management at the Leyland DAF trucks plant in Lancashire is meanwhile expected to complete a second buyout from the receivers early next week. The Leyland van plant in Birmingham is already being bought by its managers.

John Gilchrist, managing director of the truck plant, had hoped to sign an agreement with the receivers last night but will have to wait until at least next Tuesday while further details are settled.