US bid for Spandex nets founders pounds 58m

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The Independent Online
A husband and wife team that founded a sign-making equipment company 22 years ago are poised to share pounds 57.9m between them after an agreed bid from a US buyer.

Charles Dobson and his wife, Mary, established Spandex in 1976 to market a range of signs systems they had designed together. Their big break was to win exclusive UK distribution rights to an American letter cutting computer distributed in the US by

Gerber Scientific Inc.

Now Gerber has made a pounds 109.2m deal to buy out Spandex. This means Mr Dobson, Spandex chairman, and his director wife obtain 325p for each of the 17.8 million shares. they collectively own. Edmund Bruegger, the managing director, will make pounds 68,250 from his shares.

Gerber has irrevocable undertakings from 54.5 per cent of the total issued share capital of Spandex, which was floated on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1986.

Mr Bruegger said he and Mr Dobson expected to continue in their roles "for the foreseeable future" but said Mrs Dobson might stand down.

Spandex's operations have suffered from maturing European markets. Profits on turnover of pounds 101m last year dropped to pounds 9m from pounds 9.9m for 1996, mainly due to the effect of the strong pound.