Harland plunges to pounds 6m loss

HARLAND Simon, the control systems group, has plunged to a pounds 6.3m pre-tax loss - pounds 10m worse than expected - and cancelled its final dividend. Harland will have to issue qualified accounts after admitting it does not know the beneficial owner of a key stake in Perfect Information, the private company which is at the heart of its problems.

Harland has reimbursed its small pension fund for a pounds 500,000 investment it made in Perfect last year. This is part of a pounds 5.1m write- off which also covers future losses and money which Perfect owes Harland for supplying computer equipment. Perfect provides an on-line news cutting service.

Another pounds 3.5m provision covers bad debts, reorganisation costs, legal fees and the early termination of the contracts of the former chairman, Roy Ashman, 'and related staff'.

The group said that 'despite strenuous efforts' it was unable to provide formal evidence of the beneficial ownership of a major stake in Perfect held by Sandford Etablissement, a Liechtenstein trust. Harland said it did not believe any member of the group had either a beneficial interest in or control over the shares.

Harland has paid Oerlikon- Buhrle, a Swiss company, SFr500,000 ( pounds 193,000) to unwind the highly complex deal through which Sandford acquired its stake last year. This leaves Harland free to sell Contraves, the electronic drives business which the group bought from Oerlikon-Buhrle.

Harland has bought 63 per cent of Perfect but it has not been able to reach agreement to buy Mr Ashman's 27 per cent stake.

The adoption of a more prudent accounting policy for research and development costs cut pounds 2m from profits, leaving the pre- exceptionals total at pounds 2.3m, against last year's total of pounds 10.4m.

Harland is left with net assets of only pounds 8.1m compared with the pounds 20.9m it reported last year, although this has been restated at pounds 18.9m. The impending sale of Vickerys, a specialist manufacturer for the paper industry, will restore net assets to pounds 12.9m.

Harland's shares slid a further 28p to 40p yesterday. The shares have lost 94 per cent of this year's peak value.

Harland yesterday denied the accuracy of Companies House documents that show John Redshaw, Harland's managing director, to be a shareholder in his father-in-law's firm, which is carrying out building work at the group's Milton Keynes offices. Harland said Mr Redshaw had never been a shareholder in Industrial Radiographic Services and his wife had never been a director.

Peter Thayre, Mr Redshaw's father-in-law, could not explain why the Companies House records were incorrect. He said he had only named himself and his wife as directors when filling in the forms.

Sharron Redshaw is named as a director and secretary of IRS. Her name appears in handwriting similar to that used for the names of Mr Thayre and his wife. The annual return is signed by Mr Thayre.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk