Panel raps Brierley bid adviser

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THE TAKEOVER Panel, which dealt out several admonishments during T Cowie's recent bid for Henlys, has intervened in Brierley Investments' pounds 11m takeover fight for Gibbs Mew, the brewer and pub operator.

Lloyds Merchant Bank, financial adviser to Brierley, has found itself on the wrong side of the panel over a press release it issued on Wednesday in response to Gibbs' defence document.

The release incorrectly stated that Panmure Gordon, Gibbs' broker, forecast as recently as 24 August that the brewer's profits before tax would be lower in 1994 than they were in 1992. However, Lloyds said yesterday that in a clerical error, historical profits figures for 1991 and 1992, supplied from published sources by Panmure Gordon, had been incorrectly reproduced as forecasts for 1993 and 1994.

Meanwhile, Brierley Investments, based in New Zealand, yesterday reported a 17 per cent rise in annual profits to NZdollars 354m ( pounds 112m). The result to 30 June was aided by a NZdollars 160m gain from the sale in March of Tozer Kemsley and Millbourn, the UK vehicle distribution group. Brierley said the results reflected a 'substantial lift' in operating earnings in New Zealand, and lower interest and overhead costs.

Britain contributed NZdollars 321m (NZdollars 452m last time), including the profit from the TKM disposal. Bruce Hancox, the chairman, said that the TKM investment had been 'a good contributor to earnings throughout our seven-year period of ownership'.

Mount Charlotte, the UK hotels group, lost NZdollars 6m. 'It is not expected that Mount Charlotte will achieve a substantial turnaround in earnings before the 1993-94 year,' Mr Hancox said.