Gresham House hopes for rescue soon

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The Independent Online
ALFRED STIRLING, chairman and chief executive of Gresham House, the investment trust that has posted three years of losses, said yesterday that he hoped vital refinancing talks with 12 banks would prove successful in the near future.

But he added: 'It is only a hope. You can never tell.'

Gresham, which has negative net asset value, has been trying to arrange the refinancing for two years. It went into the red when investments in property and unquoted companies came unstuck in the recession.

'Everything has gone to shreds,' Mr Stirling said.

An integral part of the package is the issue of pounds 8.5m of 2.5 per cent secured loan stock by Gresham House Finance. At the interim stage Mr Stirling said failure to agree the refinancing was likely to prove fatal.

Gresham House, which is not related to Gresham Trust, the venture capital company, has been forced to sell most of its non-property assets to pay off debts. Rental income in the year 1992 fell to pounds 942,000 from pounds 1.35m, with dividend and interest income down to pounds 159,000 from pounds 471,000.

Pre-tax losses were reduced from pounds 8.9m to pounds 3.5m after exceptional costs fell by pounds 4.5m to pounds 2.4m. Once again there was no dividend payment.

Group net asset value was minus 105p, down from minus 18p last time. The net asset value of the investment trust itself fell by 1p to 62p.

There was a loss per share of 81.5p against 208.3p last year.