Pig breeder's shares could slip further

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SHARES IN Usborne, the troubled pig breeder and grain trader chaired by Lord Parkinson, are expected to fall this morning when trading in the stock restarts after a six-week suspension.

The suspension will be lifted following publication of pre-tax losses of pounds 8m against profits of pounds 887,000 for the six months to 31 December.

Share trading was halted at 19p last month when Usborne warned investors that it would lose money. David Thompson, a founder director of Hillsdown Holdings, who owned 14 per cent of the company, then made a pounds 4.6m offer at 5p a share. His purchase of a 36 per cent stake from David Frame, the chief executive who has since stepped down, triggered the bid.

The company's problems were caused by a fall in the price of pig meat and poor internal financial controls. Usborne lost pounds 1.8m at the operating line and another pounds 3.3m as it wrote down the value of its live pig stock.