Investors in QMH seek details of valuations

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SHAREHOLDERS in Queens Moat Houses have started legal moves for the release of information about the company's controversial property valuations.

A petition served on Queens Moat yesterday under Section 459 of the Companies Act could make the outcome of Monday's annual meeting irrelevant.

The company has refused requests by the Queens Moat Shareholders' Action Group for detailed information on why there was a pounds 500m difference between two valuations. The company says that is commercially confidential.

Queens Moat has accepted the lower valuation, which means there is less chance of small shareholders receiving much from the proposed debt-for-equity swap.

Monday's meeting is expected to be a fiery affair, with many shareholders voting against accepting the report and accounts - which include the valuations. The Queens Moat board, led by Andrew Coppel, chief executive, will also come under attack for the lucrative remuneration package its members are receiving.

The action group says that without more information on the valuations shareholders cannot be expected to approve the accounts. Its petition, served by its chairman, Denis Woodhams, provides for the protection of shareholders against unfair or prejudicial actions by the company.

The High Court will hear the petition on 11 January. If it rules that the action group was entitled to see the information before voting, any decision on Monday could be void, throwing the restructuring into disarray.

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