Ritblat group plans to raise pounds 2.85m to buy properties: Reduced losses and upbeat trading report but dividend is passed

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The Independent Online
CONRAD RITBLAT Sinclair Goldsmith, the new-look surveyor that yesterday unveiled its first set of figures, plans to raise pounds 2.85m by issuing 6 million new shares.

The company cut its losses for the year to 31 May from pounds 525,000 to pounds 184,000 and gave an upbeat report on current trading, but has passed on the dividend.

CRSG is to buy properties in Glasgow by raising pounds 2.7m via a placing of 5.68 million shares at 47.5p through British Linen Bank. The remainder of the shares will be held by the vendor, Cityprop, for at least 12 months.

The properties, 17,160 square feet of office space in what the company said was a prime location, generate rents of pounds 211,700 a year. The site is also the base for CRSG's Scottish operations.

Yesterday's results were the first since CRSG was formed in April with the merger of Conrad Ritblat, chaired by British Land's chairman John Ritblat, and Sinclair Goldsmith, a quoted property surveyor. Turnover was pounds 2.6m against pounds 2.7m, and net assets rose to pounds 4.7m from pounds 1.6m. Loss per share was 1.4p (3.5p).

Mr Ritblat said the enlarged group had seen an improvement in the property market but would not resume dividend payments until it was practicable.

But he added: 'With our strengths in investment, management and professional services forming the bedrock of our income, and the improving opportunities in agency and other areas, we can view the future with quiet confidence.

'At the interim stage, my predecessor referred to the marginal improvement in the property sector, and this improvement has continued, albeit that volumes of transactions remain lower than we would like.'

But with pounds 4m in cash and no debt, analysts are expecting further improvements at CRSG this year. Shares were unchanged at 51p.