H&C seeks to distance itself from DTI inquiry

Sir Harry Solomon, chairman of H&C Furnishings, went on the offensive yesterday over a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) investigation into dealings in Cantors shares ahead of its merger with Harveys last year.

Speaking as he unveiled H&C's first results since the merger, he said the inquiry did not involve the new group and would not damage its reputation: "This is nothing to do with the company. The inquiry is into dealings in Cantors shares ahead of the merger. We are here to talk about our figures."

According to sources close to Lord Harris, chairman of Carpetright, which controlled Harveys, Lord Harris asked for dealings in Cantors shares to be suspended several times during the merger negotiations. Lord Harris is not involved in the DTI inquiry and is said to be furious that his name has been dragged into some reports on the affair.

H&C's results for the six months to 26 October showed a leap in pre-tax profits from pounds 338,000 to pounds 839,000. This was after reorganisation costs of pounds 1.3m relating to the integration of the Cantors furniture operation with Harveys soft furnishings business.

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