Ronson purchase marks new course for Hoskins

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The Independent Online
HOSKINS Brewery, where Howard Hodgson recently took the helm, has mapped out a course to becoming a manufacturer and distributor.

Ronson, the maker of cigarette lighters and other smokers' requisites, is being bought for pounds 10m. And LGW, a duty-free goods business based at Gatwick Airport, Sussex, is being bought for pounds 9.5m.

Hoskins is raising pounds 17m by placing 16 million shares, and via a one- for-one rights issue. Ronson's vendors are buying 3 million Hoskins shares. All three issues are at 68p.

Share dealings in Hoskins, suspended at 78p on 8 December, will resume on the USM on Monday until 11 January - the eve of a shareholders' meeting.

Hoskins, which is being re- named Halkin Holdings, also announced a dive from profits of pounds 50,000 to losses of pounds 830,000 in the half-year to 30 September.

Mr Hodgson, the former funeral director and now chief executive of Hoskins, remains confident, however. The brewery's branded beer portfolio will be shrunk and more pubs will be bought in the Midlands near its Leicestershire home.