Harland price dives as holders seek talks

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Harland Simon, the troubled control sytems group, almost halved in value again yesterday as Electra Investment Trust and other large investors sought meetings with Harland's merchant bank and auditors.

The share price dropped from 34p to 18p - less than 3 per cent of this year's peak. Market makers at County NatWest Wood Mackenzie dropped the price at which they are prepared to buy shares to just 5p.

Electra and other shareholders, speaking for about 30 per cent of Harland, met on Wednesday to consider their options.

Louise Cawser, of CIN, manager of the British Coal pension funds, said: 'There is so much we don't seem to know - including, is there a business there?' Although Harland's market value had crashed to only pounds 3m, she said 'everybody was willing to put the time into doing something'.

Shareholders will have to decide on their moves before the annual meeting in 11 days.

Two weeks ago Harland reported a pounds 6.3m loss, having led the City earlier this year to expect a pounds 13m profit. Its accounts were qualified by Price Waterhouse, the auditors, because of uncertainty over whether they should have consolidated the results of Perfect Information, to which Harland has committed large resources.

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