Pittencrieff shares fall on profits warning

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Pittencrieff, the Scottish oil concern, fell by 18 per cent yesterday after a profits warning.

The warning came as Pittencrieff attempted to make a hostile takeover of a fellow oil extraction company, Aberdeen Petroleum.

Late yesterday a third party, Consolidated Venture Trust, an investment trust, entered the fray when it bought 14.5 per cent of Aberdeen.

Before CVT's move Pittencrieff revised the terms of its offer for Aberdeen, adding a cash alternative to the previous all-paper offer.

Pittencrieff also bought Aberdeen shares in the market, taking its total holding from 27 to 38 per cent. It said its annual results for the year to 31 December, expected early next week, would be below market expectations. Before the profits warning Greig Middleton and Bell Lawrie White, joint stockbrokers to Pittencrieff, were predicting profits of pounds 5.5m. Neither made a revised forecast publicly.

Pittencrieff offered no explanation of what prompted the profits warning.

CVT will have an uphill struggle to win control with Pittencreiff holding 39 per cent of Aberdeen. However, it will canvass for support among other shareholders next week.

Pittencrieff's cash offer for Aberdeen is at 17p, valuing the company at pounds 8.8m. CVT believes a liquidation of Aberdeen's assets would give shareholders at least 18p.

CVT is also exploring the possibility of turning Aberdeen into a cash- rich shell company. It may sell Aberdeen's oil-related assets and drive another trading business into it. The new concern could take advantage of Aberdeen's pounds 5m of tax losses.

Pittencrieff is also in the process of floating off its US-based telecommunications arm on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Aberdeen shares were unchanged at 17.25p. Pittencrieff's closed down 69p at 305p.