Receivers at Halls Homes

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HALLS Homes and Gardens, the country's largest maker of greenhouses and conservatories, yesterday called in receivers after abandoning attempts to raise money from shareholders.

Tony Houghton and John Richards, of the accountants Touche Ross, were appointed joint administrative receivers. Earlier the shares, quoted on the Unlisted Securities Market, were suspended at 3.5p at the company's request.

Earlier this month Halls, which had lost more than pounds 10m in the previous two years, reported a return into the black in the first half.

But the company forecast a loss for the year because of a fresh downturn in trading since June.

Robert Hall, the founder, set up in business in 1934 as the originator of 'everlasting rot-proof portable buildings'. It began by selling mail order chicken hutches but later diversified into cedarwood garden sheds and greenhouses.

The management bought out the business from Pentos in 1982 and joined the USM in 1986 with a pounds 9.6m valuation. A collapse in demand for conservatories in 1990 pushed the company into losses, which increased to pounds 7.2m in 1991.

Halls called on shareholders for pounds 3.2m of fresh cash in February 1991 and National Westminster, its bankers, swapped pounds 1.5m of debt for 1.5 million preference shares.

A year ago the company cut its workforce by 40 per cent and closed its plant at Chatham, Kent, leaving it with two factories and a small head office.