Voting shake-up lifts Parker

Cornwell Parker, maker of the famous Parker Knoll recliner armchair, saw its voting shares soar yesterday after bringing down the curtain on four generations of family dominance.

The 107-year-old company announced plans to end the dual share structure which gave voting control to the descendants of the founder, Frederick Parker. At the same time, the two last remaining family representatives on the board are to relinquish executive duties, with chairman Martin Jourdan taking on a non-executive role.

News that holders of the voters are to receive a two-for-three scrip issue to compensate for loss of control sent the thinly traded shares 65p ahead to 240p. They are now 100p higher than where they were at the start of September. The non-voting A shares were left almost unmoved by the day's events, slipping 0.5p to 165p.

Analysts had been expecting moves to update the share structure since the arrival last year of a new chief executive, James Moore, who has been shaking up the business. Yesterday, he unveiled pre-tax losses deepened from pounds 936,000 to pounds 1.08m for the year to July. Excluding exceptionals, profits jumped from pounds 1.04m to pounds 3.6m.

Comment, page 19

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