Shares in Montgomery's West 175 suspended

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The Independent Online

Shares in West 175 Media Group - a shell company chaired by the former Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery - were suspended from trading on the Alternative Investment Market yesterday.

The company, which was once responsible for producing cookery programmes including MasterChef, said it was still trying to thrash out a settlement deal with one of its creditors.

The suspension comes a month after West 175, which has sold off all its assets, admitted it was unable to pay its debts and was trying to come up with a settlement deal for its creditors - most of which are its advisers.

West 175, which once owned the rights to cookery programmes including shows featuring Madhur Jaffrey, Ken Hom and Antonio Carluccio, had planned to raise funding once a settlement deal had been reached.

That would have then freed it up to be used as a shell vehicle to acquire other businesses, although its tax losses would make it attractive for another company to reverse into.

It admitted yesterday, however, that it had been unable to agree settlement terms with "one of its major unsecured trade creditors" - a move that throws its future up into the air. That creditor is thought to be owed about £100,000. "In these circumstances, the company is requesting a suspension of its shares from the official list whilst the company attempts to achieve a satisfactory settlement with this creditor," it said.

Last month, West 175 said it had made an offer to all its outstanding trade creditors under which they could accept a cash offer for 20 per cent of what they are owed. Alternatively, they could elect to receive 50 per cent of the amount they are owed in shares, with the other 50 per cent payable in loan notes.

Shares in the company, which once traded as high as nearly £5 in the year 2000, were suspended at 1.5p. West 175 completed the sale of its last division in early July when it also warned it did not have enough money to pay off all its borrowings.

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