Lights out on Ronson's life as listed company

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The troubled lighter-maker Ronson is to delist its shares and put the business up for sale. The move would end a colourful life as a listed company, full of new strategies and setbacks.

The business was in the past run by the flamboyant funeral magnate Howard Hodgson, and then by Victor Kiam, the man who liked Remington shavers "so much I bought the company".

Ronson was started in the US in 1886 and took out its first lighter patent in 1913, opening a business in London in 1930. It owns the Varaflame, Piezo and Triumph lighter brands.

The decision to wind Ronson up came after its largest shareholder, Farzad Rastegar, tried unsuccessfully to buy its trading business for £1.5m earlier this year but was rebuffed. Yesterday a representative of Mr Rastegar, Ronald Clucas, was appointed a non-executive director of Ronson with immediate effect.

The company said it has long suffered from "very difficult trading conditions" and a "lack of financial resources". Its shares crashed 51 per cent to 0.26p - the high over the last 12 months was 1.35p. Ronson said it cannot afford the expense of being a listed company.