Mosaic buries board rows to rehire director: Shares rise as David Williams returns

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The Independent Online
DAVID Williams has rejoined Mosaic Investments as executive chairman, three years after departing with an pounds 85,000 cheque because of a policy row with the board.

He is understood to have bought a stake of about 8 per cent in the mini-conglomerate. Mosaic's depressed share price yesterday climbed 7p to 28p on Mr Williams' appointment as chairman.

Mosaic is in plastics, one of the areas that Mr Williams wanted the company to concentrate on before he resigned, and the merchandising of goods sporting cartoon characters such as Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds and the Flintstones.

Mr Williams would not reveal his plans for the group, but added: 'Everything is under review.'

Since leaving Mosaic he has held another directorship at Usher Walker, the printing inks company which was bought by Sun Chemicals last February - a year after he joined. He has also acted as adviser on some flotations and acquisitions.

Mr Williams has been brought back by the popular consent of a board that has only one surviving member, Pen Barber, from the days when he was deputy chairman.

'I didn't have designs on going back,' he said. 'It was the will of the board to get me back.'

Sue Ball, finance director, said the decision to approach him was made before Christmas with the support of the board, including its chairman, Andrew Davison, who will stay as a non-executive.

Mosaic is the former Press Tool company that Greg Hutchings, chief executive of Tomkins, bought into in 1987. Mr Hutchings, who wanted to turn Mosaic into another Tomkins, severed his boardroom ties but remains an investor with a 4.2 per cent stake.

Mosaic has had problems for more than two years. After a series of acquisitions in the late 1980s, investment confidence in the go-go stock started to evaporate as the group was split by boardroom rows.

A lack of funds to redeem pounds 3m of preference shares led to an eight- month share suspension between October 1992 and May 1993.

'The perception of the company is that it's a mess,' Mr Williams said. 'The reality is that it has been reorganised well but needs focus.'

Mosaic made pounds 416,000 before tax in the half-year to 31 October, against restated losses of pounds 2.64m for the same period in 1992. Analysts expect profits to top pounds 1m in 1993/94.

(Photograph omitted)