Reprieve on debt for Allied Leisure

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ALLIED Leisure has secured another week's grace for a standstill agreement on loan repayments and continuation of banking facilities, the latest deadline for which expired yesterday.

This is the second extension granted by its four principal lenders since the standstill was first agreed in March to enable the ten-pin bowling company to restructure its finances. News of the latest extension unsettled investors. The already depressed share price fell 2p to 23p.

Directors of Allied yesterday declined to answer questions about why it had not secured a refinancing. A spokesman said more details would not be available until Friday, when results for the year to July are announced.

The spokesman also said more information would be given about the investigations undertaken by lawyers into how a pounds 500,000 trade loan from Courage, the brewing group, was booked as profit in the 1992/93 results.

Damien Harte, finance director, has said previously that net profits and shareholders' funds last year would have been reduced by pounds 335,000 had the loan 'been recognised'.

In 1992/93, Allied reported taxable profits of pounds 2.9m, against the previous year's loss of pounds 1.36m.

Those accounts were audited by Stoy Hayward, the chartered accountancy firm. Duncan Moss, who left as finance director of Allied last October, has assisted the investigation team headed by Ashurst Crisp Morris, the law firm.

The company breached banking covenants earlier this year after recording a pounds 16m loss for the six months to January. That announcement, coupled with the resignation of Richard Carr, who founded the business, wiped 16p off the shares to 27p.

Restructuring negotiations are taking place with Barclays Mercantile, ANZ, Singer & Friedlander, and Midland Bank.

Despite working under tight financial constraints, Allied has started clearing the decks of unwanted assets.

A fortnight ago it took a slice out of its pounds 14m of debts by raising pounds 4.5m from the sale of two profitable nightclubs on the south coast to Rank Leisure.