Eagle Trust plans sale

EAGLE TRUST, the mini-conglomerate whose shares have been suspended for five years, has been talking to bank advisers about selling its film services subsidiary, Samuelson, via a stock market flotation.

'We could do a share placing with institutions, or we might plump for a general share offer to the public,' said Brian Smith, right-hand man to Eagle's chairman, David James.

An outright flotation of Samuelson could raise as much as pounds 50m, which would in effect wipe out Eagle's debts. 'We are talking to a leading house to get some views from them about the proposition and the practicality of it,' said Mr Smith.

Samuelson, which provided camera equipment, lighting and crews for the film Tom and Viv, the television series Casualty and the recent Winter Olympics, has an annual turnover of around pounds 70m.

It makes profits described as 'satisfactory' by Mr Smith, and the accounts for last year are due to be published in a couple of weeks.

The pounds 39m acquisition of Samuelson by Eagle in 1987 helped to trigger the parent company's current plight, because the accompanying share issue was hit by the stock market crash in October that year.

Mr James was in the High Court last week as Eagle began a pounds 25m damages claim against its former adviser, Swiss Bank Corporation.

He has told shareholders that he may be able to pay out 1p a share if Eagle wins either the court case against the bank or a later one against its former auditors, KPMG Peat Marwick, which is scheduled for next spring.

A Samuelson flotation would enablehim to make such a payment, but only after the banks have been repaid the bulk of their outstanding loans.

(Photograph omitted)

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