Receivers appointed at troubled Heritage

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The Independent Online
The directors of Heritage, the housewares distributor, are considering legal action after Lloyds Bank called in receivers to the troubled group. Debts are thought to be "well in excess of pounds 5m", compared with net assets in December of pounds 907,000. Simon Morris and Scott Barnes of accountants Grant Thornton have been appointed receivers to Heritage and its three London-based operating subsidiaries.

On Tuesday, the company asked for its shares to be suspended at 23p "pending clarification of its financial position". Jeffrey Lampert, chairman and chief executive, blamed a faulty computerised accounting system which had rendered the company unable to determine its year-end figures. He said the group's bankers, who are Lloyds, were not involved in the decision.

But in a statement yesterday, Heritage said Lloyds had rejected a financial strategy presented on Monday by management and accountants Smith & Williamson.

"Lloyds found this to be unacceptable, for reasons they were not prepared to discuss, and appointed receivers. The company considers this action to be inappropriate and has reserved its position, including the right to take legal action."

Mr Lampert refused to comment yesterday, but Lloyds said it had been "saddened" by yesterday's announcement.

Mr Barnes said they were attempting to sell the business as a going concern.