L&G man in a spot

Peter Knapton, a senior executive with Legal & General Investment Management, is in a embarrassing spot. He is open to the charge that, like many in the City, he talks a good investment game but fails to deliver.

Away from his L&G day job, Mr Knapton is chairman and a big investor in Reece, a conglomerate with pounds 19m in sales, whose shares languish at 1.5p, down from 8p five years ago. It has not paid a dividend since 1991. It is, in short, not at all a company into which L&G would steer its policyholders' money.

Reece sells bikes ("a cyclical business," says Mr Knapton), makes door panels, distributes nuts and bolts and makes equipment for the ceramics industry.

It has seen many false dawns. Last year, it produced an improved profit of pounds 166,000 pre-tax and Mr Knapton was quite cheerful. A few months later he revealed a slip back into the red in the first half of 1997.

Mr Knapton must surely be more proud of his six daughters than of Reece. For its performance is not much for a City fund manager to boast about.

"I'm not a fund manager day-to-day," protested Mr Knapton, who insists he is now above such humdrum matters as buying and selling equities. But it is not long since he ran L&G's Recovery Trust, and only four years ago he was chief investment officer at Lazards.

He insisted he did not run Reece day-to-day either; he was a non-executive chairman. He said the problem was that Reece seriously overpaid for the nuts and bolts business. Nobody would buy it, and he could not close it because of onerous property leases.

"I don't say we're doing well but it's difficult to imagine anybody else doing a much better job, and most shareholders seem to understand that," said Mr Knapton.

But not all of them do. "It's not clear the management have added a whole lot to shareholder value in recent years," said money manager Colin McLean, whose Undervalued Assets Trust holds 14 per cent of Reece.

But you can say this for Mr Knapton; he has not cut and run. "I'd like to find a solution rather than just quit."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her in Latakia
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report