Tamaris returns as china retailer

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The Independent Online

Tamaris, which last year retired hurt from the nursing home business, is to rejoin the stock market as a vendor of porcelain and glassware.

Tamaris, which last year retired hurt from the nursing home business, is to rejoin the stock market as a vendor of porcelain and glassware.

The company's out-of-pocket shareholders will vote later this month on a plan to rename the company World Trade Systems, after the Hong Kong- based retailer which is reversing into its shell.

Tamaris is one of several care-home operators to have been affected by the increasing tendency of local authorities, which provide 70 per cent of the industry's revenue, to put patients in NHS beds rather than private ones. Some operators have been forced to embark on sale-and-leaseback deals, which generate much-needed cash windfalls but have left them exposed to rising rental obligations.

Their collective predicament has raised concerns that thousands of needy pensioners will be deprived of a vital source of care.

Tamaris, which was valued at £68m less than three years ago, was the subject of a winding-up order by the High Court last December. Its final reported results showed that annual losses were running at £14m. Shares in the company, which in its prime operated 6,000 beds and employed 7,000 staff, were suspended a year ago at 28p, valuing Tamaris at just £14m.

Shareholders recouped a proportion of their cash thanks to the sale of some of Tamaris's assets to Omega Worldwide, an American healthcare investor. However, the prospect that Tamaris will resume trading, albeit in an entirely different industry, may provide their best hope of recovering more of their investment.

World Trade Systems Hong Kong (WTSHK) has three outlets in the Far East, including a site in Hong Kong's prestigious Peninsula Hotel shopping complex, which is supported by a largely Japanese clientele. WTSHK was profitable until 1998, when like many of its peers, the company was hit by the deteriorating economic climate in Asia.

The new deal has been put together by Kudrow, an investment holding company run by Shigeyoshi Yamamoto, who is now chairman of Tamaris.

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