Disposal of Tiphook container arm stalls

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The Independent Online
TIPHOOK, the troubled transport group, has told bankers that its life-saving deal to sell its container division to Transamerica Corporation is still some way from being settled.

The company announced the intended sale of the division to Transamerica last November, and hoped to send a circular to shareholders by the end of December. But Andrew Chandler, its finance director, admitted to bankers last week that after weeks of due diligence procedures and negotiations, the price had still not been finalised and would be agreed only after detailed consideration of a number of 'unresolved due diligence issues'.

Mr Chandler said the company and its advisers were in meetings with Transamerica last week to finalise the deal.

He also told bankers that the deal depended on the approval of lenders with debts secured on the container assets, and that it still required waivers from banks whose loan agreements had non-disposal clauses.

A company spokesman said that these consents would be sought once the purchase price had been agreed.

The company is discussing the refinancing of its pounds 1.3bn debts with its banks.

Tiphook originally said that Transamerica would buy the division for pounds 830m, but it admitted before Christmas to the Independent on Sunday that this figure would be marginally reduced. Some bankers have been told to expect a deal worth 'not less than pounds 780m'.

Tiphook hopes to send its delayed interim results to shareholders at the same time as it sends them the final details of the Transamerica deal - 'during this month'.

Last week Klesch & Company, a specialist in corporate debt, was offering to buy Tiphook debt at 22 cents in the dollar for unsecured debt and 80 cents in the dollar for secured debt.

Eric Goodwin, deputy chairman, said all sides were co- operating and that progress was being made on the deal with Transamerica.

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