Takeover to clear way for Chime listing

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The Independent Online
CHIME COMMUNICATIONS, Sir Tim Bell's public relations empire, is to go ahead with a stock market listing through a reverse takeover of Chartwell, a tile and toilet cubicle maker, writes Diane Coyle.

Chartwell is paying pounds 14.3m for Chime, which has public relations firms Lowe Bell Financial, Good Relations and First Financial, lobbyists Lowe Bell Political, Smithfield Design and Lowe Bell Consultants. It will finance the deal with new shares, and graduates from the USM to the official list.

The merged group will be renamed Chime Communications, with Sir Tim as its chairman. The Chartwell businesses are for sale.

The company will place pounds 4m worth of the new shares at 34p. Proceeds from the placing will be partly used to repay debt incurred by Chime in its 1989 buyout from Lowe Howard-Spink.

Chime made pre-tax profits of pounds 1m in 1993, up from pounds 918,000 the previous year, on income 7 per cent higher at pounds 12.7m. It said trading so far this year had exceeded expectations. Chartwell made pre-tax losses of pounds 1.2m in the year to 31 March, up from pounds 445,000.

Chartwell shares were suspended at 48p last week. Shareholders' approval will be sought at a meeting on 2 June. Panmure Gordon is making a partial offer for up to 30 per cent of the enlarged equity.