New shake-up at Ingham

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The Independent Online
TOM STEVENSON

City Editor

Ingham, the troubled classic car parts to worsted spinning group, riven last year by dissent over the composition of its board and strategic direction, took a further step yesterday towards reinventing itself as an investment trust.

It released delayed interim figures, confirmed a management buyout of its textiles arm, said its property division was up for sale, recommended a 36p offer from an unnamed investor and announced the proposed resignation of its chief executive, Alan Stephenson.

The latest tumultuous developments follow a disastrous two-year period for the company during which its share price has collapsed from a high in 1993 of 166p. Yesterday it confirmed a slump into the red in the six months to September, with last year's pounds 853,000 profit reversing into a pounds 1.09m loss.

Both the original spinning business and the more recent diversification into spare parts for classic cars such as MGs and Triumphs suffered with the textiles businesses swinging from a pounds 243,000 profit to a loss of pounds 203,000. Exceptional charges included a pounds 607,000 write-down in the value of the two remaining properties in the property arm, a pounds 195,000 charge to cover a strategic review of Ingham's businesses, and pounds 555,000 for the disposal of the spinning business to management.

That deal followed the announcement last year that if a buyer could not be found for the textiles arm it would be closed at the end of 1995.

Attention focuses on a reverse takeover of the company by a still unnamed investor that plans to use Ingham's quote to relaunch the business as an investment vehicle, possibly seeking investment trust status. The offer, pitched at 36p and likely to be accompanied by a substantial subscription for new equity, is understood to be considerably lower than the company's net asset value.

Ingham is also planning to close its head office in Harrogate, saving pounds 200,000 a year, and transfer to Richmond, Surrey, where its remaining motor operations are based.

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