Rank unloads £620m worth of shares in Xerox - Business - News - The Independent

Rank unloads £620m worth of shares in Xerox

The Rank Organisation yesterday raised £620m from the sale of shares in Rank Xerox to finance its expansion plans in the lesiure industry. It said it was considering using part of the proceeds to finance a possible bid for MGM, the UK's largest ci nema chain, and will also be financing the expansion of its interests in gaming, bingo and holiday villages.

The reduction in Rank's holding in Rank Xerox, the fifth time since 1964 that it has raised cash from selling rights or other interests in the profitable joint venture, will cut its stake from 49 per cent to 30 per cent. The shares are being sold to its partner, the American Xerox Corporation, for cash.

Rank has no plans to sell its remaining stake in the photocopier group, according to Michael Gifford, chief executive.

The proceeds will be invested in gaming, bingo and its Oasis holiday villages venture. Mr Gifford confirmed that he was interested in the MGM cinema chain, which is currently owned by the French bank Credit Lyonnais.

The bank has announced its intention to sell and Warburg, the merchant bank handling the sale, is expected to release particulars soon.

MGM is the largest cinema chain in the UK and Odeon, owned by Rank, is the second-largest, so there would be clear monopoly implications to any purchase. Mr Gifford said, however, that Rank would have to be "an interested party" when the sales particulars were issued.

The price achieved by Rank for its Xerox stake disappointed the City and the shares fell 22p to 381p. It represented a gain of £325m over book value.

In a related transaction, Rank is making a £55m offer to buy the outstanding minority shares in A Kershaw & Sons, a quoted company that owns interests in Rank Xerox. Rank owns 85 per cent of Kershaw. If the offer is accepted Rank will be left with 29.4 per cent of voting rights in Rank Xerox and 20 per cent of the participating profits - profits before research and development costs and before Xerox head office costs.

Rank also announced pre-tax profits for the year to 31 October before Rank Xerox restructuring costs of £376.6m, a rise of 37 per cent. The total dividend was 13.25p, an increase of 9 per cent.

The company said the leisure and entertainment markets in the US and UK were beginning to emerge from recession. Leisure spending increased, although some areas did better than others. Rank sold 3.5 million holidays last year, a 3 per cent increase in volume with an average tariff also up by 3 per cent. Bookings for the first half of this year are up 10 per cent by volume and 14 per cent by value, although those for the second half are slightly lower.

Film and television did well. The latest Disney film, The Lion King, boosted cinema revenues towards the end of the year and into this year.

Rank Xerox had an excellent year, with turnover increasing by 5 per cent and the participation profit before restructuring costs up by 41 per cent. After Rank's share of the £62m restructuring costs the contribution was almost unchanged at £151.5m. Fuji Xerox, including royalties, boosted its contribution by 20 per cent aided by the strong yen.

Rank joined Haloid of the US to form Rank Xerox in 1956 and has invested up to £25m in the venture. It became one of the most profitable companies in the UK until patents over plainpaper copier technology expired in the 1970s. It rapidly lost market share to new competitors, notably the Japanese.

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'

Watch this commuter make a mad 320-metre, 75-step dash to work
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week