Thursday 08 October 1998
Bilton is one such enterprise, though to be fair, the company is based in sunny Ealing, not Mayfair. The original founder, the gloriously named Percy Bilton, passed away many moons ago, leaving the enterprise in the hands of Ron Groom, the present joint managing director. As a trustee of both the Percy Bilton 1954 Settlement and the Percy Bilton Charity, which together own 34.7 per cent of Bilton PLC, Mr Groom maintains an apparently unassailable grip on the company, despite the fact that he doesn't appears to be a beneficiary of either.
In fact, the actual beneficiaries, members of the original Bilton family, would over the years have done much better if they had stuck their nest egg into unit trusts. Belatedly, some of them have begun to realise this, partially opening the door to the present pounds 264m hostile takeover bid from Slough Estates.
Slough has been complaining about what an atrociously run company Bilton is. Its financial strategy has been "inappropriate" and its approach to new development "misguided", Slough said in another broadside yesterday. More seriously, it in effect accuses Mr Groom of using his position as a trustee of the family interest to run the company as a personal fiefdom.
It ought to be pointed out that Slough itself is not entirely without blemish in this department. Sir Nigel Mobbs, executive chairman, is the grandson of the original founder, Noel Mobbs, so Slough Estates is a property dynasty too. Even so, in recent years it has been a good deal more successful than Bilton; under Sir Nigel it has become a big, well managed, serious company with a strong investment following. The same cannot be said of Bilton, which seems to have been run without a great deal of concern for the interests of outside shareholders.
The Bilton family trust and the parallel charity will be concerned to ensure that Slough pays a full price, but they'd be foolish to stay with the present set-up. And Slough is of course absolutely right to say that Mr Groom has a terrible conflict of interest.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...