Fleming seeking link with Electra

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The Independent Online
Michael Stoddart, the chairman of Electra Investment Trust, is believed to have had an approach from Robert Fleming, the merchant bank, that may result in Fleming taking a significant shareholding in the trust's management company.

According to sources, an announcement may be made today at a meeting called to present half-yearly results for Electra Investment Trust.

Mr Stoddart, who, along with other directors, owns about 20 per cent of the management company, Electra Kingsway, said yesterday: "Our position is that we are announcing a set of results tomorrow morning. That is all I can say."

Close to half of Electra Kingsway's shares are owned by Electra Holdings; a further 30 per cent is held by a group of core equity partners and the remaining 20 per cent by several current and former directors.

Electra set up its own management company in 1989 to find and fund deals, mainly involving unquoted companies. Mr Stoddart wants to increase Electra's presence overseas and also raise its capability to do larger British deals. Analysts say the management company has a value of around pounds 30m.

Robert Fleming, which has made no secret of its interest in buying management companies giving it access to fund management, declined to comment on speculation of talks.

Analysts expect the net asset value of Electra Investment Trust to have moved up to 405p from 380p last year. Last year Electra said that it envisaged the proportion of assets invested overseas rising from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.