Rankin fends off shareholder attack

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The Independent Online
TURMOIL at Bristol Scotts, the property company that owns 30 acres surrounding Bristol's greyhound racing track, continued yesterday with Sir Ian Rankin, its chairman, saying he was baffled by an attack on him by an independent shareholder, writes Tom Stevenson.

Colin Forsyth, who heads a shareholder group that was instrumental in Sir Ian's appointment in August, called for the chairman's resignation at the weekend. The demand came a day after Mr Forsyth had dined with Sir Ian, who believed there was no hint of a change of allegiance.

The events follow a row at the annual meeting in August, when the controlling Kerman family was ousted. The future of the Kermans' 24 per cent stake is in doubt, with Mr Forsyth said to support a bid by a Singapore company. Sir Ian favours a spread of institutional buyers.

Bristol Scotts returned to profit in the six months to June for the first time since 1988, making pounds 429,000 from sales of pounds 5.4m following a pounds 116,000 loss from sales of pounds 4.3m.

A 3p dividend is the first payout by the company since 1989. Earlier losses were attributed to the acquisition from the Kermans of their chain of restaurants, including Scott's and Overton's in London.

The shares closed 12p higher at 200p.