Mackie suspends share dealings

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Mackie International's suffering investors were dealt a further blow yesterday, with the company suspending dealings in its shares at 113.5p - a sharp contrast to the 400p-plus level that they traded at less than a year ago.

Little light was thrown on the reasons behind the suspension of dealings. In a brief statement to the Stock Exchange, the company said that certain matters had come to light since it announced its preliminary results on 26 March that "may or may not lead to a restatement of the accounts for the year ended 31 December 1996".

A spokesman for the Belfast-based precision engineering group, which last month announced a plunge from profits of pounds 3.3m for 1996, said that a further announcement would be made in due course.

There appeared to be a glimmer of hope for investors last month when the shares shot up towards 200p on news of a bid approach by an unnamed suitor. But the shares fell again once it became known that the preliminary bid talks had ended without any agreement being reached.

The plunge into the red last year was attributed to reduced world-wide demand for linen, which subsequently hit sales of textile machinery products.

This problem led the company to take a pounds 1.9m charge against its accounts, and to cancel the final dividend payment - leaving the interim payout of 3.7p considerably short of the previous year's total distribution of 11p.