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Former Pontins boss ups Vymura stake

SHARES IN the wallcoverings manufacturer Vymura jumped yesterday as it emerged that Trevor Hemmings, the former Pontins holiday camp entrepreneur, has increased his stake in the group to 25.4 per cent. The shares closed 10p higher at 124p.

Mr Hemmings has been steadily building his stake for some time through investment vehicle Guild Ventures. However, a disclosure last month that the stake had leapt to 22.3 per cent promptedVymura to seek clarification of his intentions.

Last week, Vymura's chairman Andrew Garety said they had requested a meeting with Mr Hemmings but had emerged from the discussions with no clearer idea as to his intentions

Vymura said yesterday: "I don't think Vymura is any closer to understanding where he is coming from or what he wants. He still maintains that this is an investment."

Analysts pointed out that Mr Hemmings, a former director in charge of Scottish & Newcastle's leisure division, was probably taking advantage of the weakness in Vymura's shares which have have fallen after a profits warning coupled with last week's interim results.

"He has picked up a little more stock on the cheap," one analyst said.

Mr Hemmings already has interests in a wallpaper group through a privately controlled business as well as racecourse interests through a quoted vehicle, Arena. He is currently listed as Britain's 65th richest man.

Vymura has been hit by a fall off in demand as home decorators turn increasingly to paint as a result if television programmes such as Changing Rooms.

Mr Hemmings' most recent purchase in Vymura amounts to 6.5 million shares, representing an additional 3.1 per cent. At the current share price Vymura is valued at around pounds 32m. The shares stood at 192.5p at the beginning of 1997.