View from City Road: Tiphook's shrinking sale price

Click to follow
It all looked to good to be true. Tiphook's sale price for its container business is shrinking by the month while the mass departure of key board members, revealed after market hours, was accompanied by fresh dreadful news, which means that the company's future is solely dependent on its banks' battered goodwill.

Transport analysts were rocked on their heels when Tiphook announced that it had sold its container operations to Transamerica for pounds 830m late last year.

Last month it said the figure had come down to pounds 757m. Last night the figure was down again to pounds 734m, based on projected net assets at the end of March.

What is more, pounds 44.25m of this is payable into escrow to proect Transamerica pending any claims, so Tiphook really ends up with just pounds 689.75m.

And it is not over yet. A further audit of the net assets of the container operation may lead to another adjustment to the purchase price.

Elsewhere, a pounds 49.7m charge in connection with trailer contracts taken out last year and regarded as bizarre at the time will have knocked lumps out of Tiphook's interim results.

Robert Montague, who is merely stepping down as chairman, is the sole key executive survivor of this debacle. Aggrieved shareholders who will see Tiphook shares dive this morning may wonder why this is the case.