Isosceles may make pounds 150m write-down on Herman's

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ISOSCELES, the highly borrowed group that owns Gateway supermarkets, is expected to announce a pounds 150m write-down on its US chain, Herman's Sporting Goods, writes Patrick Hosking.

The group is also expected to disclose a marked decline in operating profits and margins in its second half as it reports results today for the year to 25 April, and gives details of its refinancing.

Isosceles is believed to have made operating profits of almost pounds 170m during the year, a surplus wiped out by the interest due on its pounds 1.3bn of borrowings. Trading has been increasingly difficult.

The write-down on Herman's, which Isosceles is trying to sell, will reduce its value in the balance sheet from pounds 194m to around pounds 50m. There will also be write- downs on the property portfolio.

The refinancing, agreed in July, gives Isosceles a breathing space. Its first priority is to sell its pounds 150m Wellworth chain in Ulster.