Usborne shares suspended: Exchange reacts to loss forecast and reporting trouble

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The Independent Online
TRADING in shares of Usborne, the food manufacturing company headed by former Cabinet minister Lord Parkinson, has been suspended as the group said it is likely to report large interim losses, writes Robert Cole.

Usborne has been hit by problems in the pig meat market. Its difficulties have been compounded by a failure in its reporting procedures.

Usborne's main business is trading grain but it also breeds and rears pigs. There has been over-capacity in pig meat, driving down prices.

The group loss this year will contrast with a pre-tax profit of pounds 1.6m in the year to 30 June 1993. Last year grain generated pounds 2.9m of the total pounds 3.3m of operating profits. The company said yesterday the grain business was satisfactory.

Usborne's latest half-year ended on 31 December but a failure in the company's internal reporting procedures meant the losses have only just come to light and the results will not be published until next month. Stock Exchange regulations require companies to publish interim results within four months of the close of the financial period.

Richard Endicott, finance director, said the figures would be put out as soon as possible. The shares were suspended at 19p, the same price at which a right issue to raise pounds 4.5m was pitched last August. Trading will be resumed when the results are published.

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