United Carriers plans to float again: Placing will raise pounds 10m and value parcels group at pounds 50m

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The Independent Online
UNITED CARRIERS, a parcels and freight distribution group, plans a stock market flotation in the spring that will value it at about pounds 50m, writes John Murray.

The float will mark a return to the list for the company, which was quoted until it was bought by Bunzl for pounds 95m in 1985. Bunzl sold it on to its management four years later.

The price then was pounds 55m (including a chunk of debt) and management and employees ended up with a 56 per cent stake in a deal backed by Phildrew Ventures. Allan Binks, chairman, said the decline in the value of the business reflected heavy rationalisation and disposals.

'It's a smaller business than the one we bought out, but is much better focused now on parcels and light freight distribution and specialist transport.' Mr Binks has a 20 per cent stake, while other directors hold 12 per cent between them.

About pounds 10m of new money will be raised from a placing. The directors do not plan to sell many of their shares, but it is not yet clear how much of Phildrew's 32 per cent stake will be on offer. Bunzl holds a residual 8 per cent stake.

The company made operating profits of pounds 4.5m before exceptional items on turnover of pounds 93m in 1992. Last year's results will be included in the prospectus, expected before the end of next month. The company said it expected the figures to be better than the previous year's.

Jonathan Dawson of Lazard Brothers, the merchant bank sponsoring the flotation, said the issue would be priced on the basis of operating profits as the pre-tax figure was distorted by exceptional items connected with rationalisation and disposals.