View from City Road: Inquiry delay unfair to Suter
Tuesday 08 September 1992
A cloud of suspicion continues to dog Suter, Mr Abell's refrigerators-to- chemicals group. Since inspectors were appointed one day in July 1988, shares in Suter have lost more than half their value while the FT-SE 100 has, even at its present depressed level, risen by 25 per cent.
The continuing uncertainty is unfair to Mr Abell and to Suter's other 7,000-odd shareholders. How long does it take to investigate a few insider dealing allegations?
There is a danger that the cause for concern will be long forgotten by the time the inspectors' report is published. There is no obvious reason for delaying publication. Such leaks as there have been suggest the inspectors will criticise Mr Abell but stop short of recommending prosecutions.
Perhaps the DTI has forgotten about Suter amid its numerous changes of Secretary of State. While the matter may be of no great importance alongside Mr Heseltine's plans for a bold new industrial strategy, Suter is entitled to have it cleared up.
The DTI is not solely to blame for Suter's problems, of course. Profits have fallen in each of the past three years from pounds 39m in 1988 to pounds 17.8m last year.
Yesterday's interims show the group stemming the decline, with pre-tax profits rising by pounds 200,000 to pounds 9.4m thanks to a reduced interest charge. Trading is patchy - sales of refrigeration equipment to supermarkets have slipped, and the crisis in the building industry has further weakened demand for air conditioning. Chemicals was the only division to record increased profits.
Borrowings remain high, effectively restricting any ambitions Mr Abell might have for Hartons, the troubled plastics group where he took over quietly as chairman recently. Suter has a 23 per cent stake which 'speaks for itself', according to Suter's finance director.
A maintained 3.2p interim dividend and the forecast of an unchanged final provide a healthy yield. But there is little else to go for until the DTI makes its intentions known.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...