The late ticker

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The Independent Online
Dim light at end of tunnel

Eurotunnel's shareholders will have to wait until September at the earliest to see the details of the financial restructuring package being thrashed out with its 225 bankers, who are owed pounds 9bn. The original timetable envisaged a prospectus for the debt-for-equity swap being printed and sent to shareholders in April, in time for a vote at an extraordinary general meeting in June at the same time as annual meeting.

But Eurotunnel sources say the tunnel fire has caused delays, as have the inquiries that need to be completed before freight services resume through the tunnel. There have also been further hold-ups in getting all the banks to agree the terms of the deal.

This will mean that the EGM will probably not take place before October, a year after agreement was reached in principle with the banks. Last month, the 16-month-old standstill agreement over the company's interest payments was extended until 14 December. Capital hits back

CAPITAL CORPORATION, the Crockfords Casino operator, will on Tuesday launch its first counterstrike against the pounds 178m hostile offer from London Clubs International. The Capital defence document, two weeks after LCI's offer, will scorn the low value of the bid and claim it does not reflect the potential of the business, or the value of holding two of London's 21 casino licences.

Rival Ladbroke is understood to be holding fire on a possible counterbid until it has seen the defence document. The company, which has four casinos of its own in London, has plenty of time - until Friday April 11th - to trump the LCI offer.

Lonrho sale

LONRHO'S long-awaited and much-delayed pounds 350m sale of the Princess Hotels chain is thought to be near conclusion. The leading candidate, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, the Saudi investor who holds a large stake in Euro Disney, is in the advanced stages of negotiation to buy eight of the 10 hotels, with the two casino-based hotels in the Bahamas going to another trade buyer. The deal is scheduled to be announced next month.

The sale will bring to an end a tortuous chapter in Lonrho's break-up plans. Last year, the company pulled out of plans to float both the Princess and its sister chain, the Metropole - since sold to Stakis - and talks with the prince have dragged on for months.

Forsyth appeal

ELIZABETH FORSYTH, the former aide to Polly Peck head Asil Nadir, will tomorrow hear the result of her appeal against a money-laundering conviction, her lawyers say.

Mrs Forsyth, 60, spent 10 months in jail after being found guilty last year on two counts of dishonestly handling pounds 400,000 before Polly Peck's collapse in 1990.

She was freed, however, in January after the Court of Appeal quashed her original five-year conviction, which it said was disproportionate to the charges.

Mr Nadir is still wanted by the Serious Fraud Office after jumping bail and fleeing to his native northern Cyprus in 1993.

LME reforms

THE London Metal Exchange will hold an extraordinary general meeting tomorrow to increase the number of non- industry directors on the board in response to a review by the Securities and Investment Board.

The number of board members will be increased by two to 18 and of those four will be lay directors.

The exchange is also considering introducing a market-monitoring committee and publishing summarized information on the ownership of metal in LME warehouses and on large "long" and "short" positions in its metals market.

The reforms are aimed at preventing a repetition of the Sumitomo copper debacle last summer.