Private investors attack Marston

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The Independent Online
PRIVATE SHAREHOLDERS in regional brewer Marston, Thompson & Evershed yesterday criticised the company for its poor performance and handling of the proposed securitisation of its tenanted pub estate.

The comments came as the emergency meeting to approve the deal had to be adjourned after pressure from institutional shareholders. They had complained that the deal would not enable investors to adequately consider the pounds 262m hostile bid from rival brewer Wolverhampton & Dudley.

Jack Thompson, who had inherited 52,000 Marston shares, said he had not received all the documents. "I did not have enough information and I suspect other shareholders were in a similar position," he said.

Another private shareholder, David Hughes, said: "I find it difficult to support the board when they haven't performed for me." He pointed out that his shares had barely risen in value since he acquired them in 1992.

Marston conceded it would have to write off pounds 6.3m in costs to cover work undertaken on the securitisation but said it would not cost the same amount to re-start the process.

Michael Hurdle, chairman, said he was looking forward to fighting the Wolves bid, which is pitched at 282p per share.