Regan buys New Guernsey trust

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The Independent Online
Andrew Regan, the 30-year-old entrepreneur who sold his Hobson food business to Hillsdown Holdings in January, returned to the stock market yesterday when he led a pounds 4m offer for New Guernsey Securities Trust.

Mr Regan will use the trust as a stock market vehicle to build an industrial holdings company. The name will be changed to Lanica Trust. Its pounds 3.5m portfolio of quoted securities will be retained in the short term but will eventually be sold.

"We will use the company to do what our shareholders think we do best," he said. "That is buying businesses, rationalising them and then selling them." He said he intended Lanica to be his long-term vehicle for stock market transactions.

He said the plan was to buy businesses from "unusual vendors" and then add value. He will avoid hi-tech and bio-tech companies, focusing instead on businesses with strong cash flow and good asset backing. "We are working on something at the moment which is more significant than Hobson," he said. "It's a large, diverse business but I don't want to say too much more at the moment."

The offer for New Guernsey was made through Hambros at 203p per share in cash. This represents a 48 per cent premium to the value of the company's shares on 2 October. It is a premium of 24 per cent over the net asset value of 164.3p as of 30 June. Mr Regan's stake in the company is around 62 per cent.

He said the main board directors would draw relatively modest salaries of pounds 50,000 to pounds 100,000 but take bonuses when successful transactions were made.

Mr Regan, the son of Spring Ram chairman Roger Regan, bought into Hobson in 1992 when it was worth just pounds 2m. He transformed it during 1995 when Hobson paid pounds 111m for FE Barber, the food and drinks manufacturing business of the Co-Operative Wholesale Society.

Hobson was sold to Hillsdown for pounds 121m seven months later with Mr Regan netting pounds 2.9m.

Mr Regan is being joined in the offer for New Guernsey by David Lyons, the former chief executive of Hobson. Both will become executive directors of the renamed company.

Earlier this year, Mr Regan acted as adviser on the takeover of Hotspur Investments. It was renamed Crudon Bay and is now investing in companies which service the water industry. It acquired a company called Kenton last month.