QMH rebels seek delay pending new valuation

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SHAREHOLDERS in Queens Moat Houses plan to seek an adjournment of today's annual meeting until a further valuation of the hotel group's properties is made.

Jones Lang Wootton, the firm of surveyors whose severe writedown of Queens Moat's assets sparked controversy, is doing another valuation as part of restructuring plans to be put before bankers next year.

Market experts say improvements in the property sector mean the assets could be worth more than the pounds 861m value put on them by Jones Lang last time. This figure was pounds 500m lower than a previous valuation by another firm.

News of the fresh valuation may placate debenture holders meeting tomorrow. They should be more willing to waive a threat to seize 27 hotels and throw the restructuring into turmoil. The debentures are not sufficiently covered by the value of Queens Moat properties and the bondholders were threatening to enfore their security.

However, the Queens Moat Shareholders' Action Group said there were too many unanswered questions and today's meeting should be adjourned until a further property review is made. But Denis Woodhams, the group's chairman, said the review should be carried out by Jones Lang.

Queens Moat, hit by massive losses, will tell shareholders the company's cash flow is critical and they must press ahead with the restructure without delay. It says full disclosure of the revaluation will be made to shareholders in accordance with Stock Exchange rules.