Schroder Ventures leads bidding for Staveley arm

SCHRODER VENTURES has emerged as the lead bidder for the services business being sold by Staveley Industries as part of the mini-conglomerate's break-up plans.

The management buy-in is expected to value the services division at around pounds 30m and could be announced this week.

That would leave Staveley with its largest business, British Salt, left to sell. A shortlist of bidders has been drawn up and an announcement is expected shortly. Staveley has a huge market share in industrial salt. Its operations are regulated by the Office of Fair Trading, which sets inflation-adjusted price caps for the business.

Staveley, in which Guinness Peat Group has built up a 29 per cent stake, last week reported a fall in interim pre-tax profits to pounds 4.6m from pounds 6.3m.