Debts push Harrington Kilbride into loss

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The Independent Online
HARRINGTON Kilbride, the publisher, made an even bigger provision against eastern European bad debts than expected, transforming its reported pounds 2.7m profit into an pounds 824,000 loss, writes Tom Stevenson.

The company, which publishes handbooks such as Year of Rugby and Year of Golf and business publications, warned in June that it would have to restate its 1993 accounts. A promised final dividend of 3.2p has been scrapped and shareholders will now receive just 1p, making a total for the year of 2.7p (4.5p).

Harrington had said it would need to provide pounds 3m to cover bad debts from the CIS and Eastern Europe, but yesterday said a further pounds 500,000 would be needed. Outstanding debtors still total pounds 1.36m.

Bonuses due to be paid to the managing and finance directors on the basis of the original accounts will not be paid. The sales director has also been forced to accept a pay cut to atone for the provision.

Harrington also warned that a decision to concentrate on confererences conducted on a strictly cash-receipts basis would make the company's profits even more biased in the second half.

The shares closed 1p lower yesterday at 42p, a far cry from the 250p at which they peaked last year, 19 months after the company came to the stock market. At the peak, founder Kevin Harrington's 46 per cent stake was worth pounds 12m.