Row over listing change

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The Independent Online

Compass Group has objected strongly to the Stock Exchange over the decision to shift its share listing from the hotels and leisure sector to the breweries, pubs and restaurants grouping.

Some leading leisure analysts are even more furious because Thorn EMI is being moved from leisure and reclassified under publishing just months before its planned break-up.

The changes were announced last week by FT-SE International, the joint venture between the Stock Exchange and the Financial Times.

Shares in the Alpha Airports in-flight catering, airport retailing and ground services company are also being rehoused from hotels and leisure to business support services.

Some analysts are concerned the move could hit the share price of Compass whose shares trade on a price earnings multiple of 17, compared with around 14.5 for the leading brewing and pub companies.

Steve Vale, secretary to the FT-SE International reclassification committee, said the decision to move Compass owed much to the strategic, and highly profitable moves by the brewers and pub operators to sell more food.

Francis Mackay, deputy chairman and chief executive of Compass, said it would cost much time and money to educate new analysts.