Wray to pump pounds 3m into Carlisle

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NIGEL WRAY, the City entrepreneur who made a fortune from shell companies, is backing Carlisle Group, the loss-making property surveyor, as his latest investment vehicle, writes Neil Thapar.

The company yesterday proposed a radical restructuring that will enable Mr Wray to pump in almost pounds 3m, boosting his stake fourfold to 40 per cent.

The move is part of a pounds 6m equity injection aimed at developing Carlisle into a property investment company. It involves a pounds 2.7m share subscription by Mr Wray, who is to become non-executive chairman, and the balance via a one-for-one rights issue at 11p a share.

The group is acquiring the lease to its London head office for pounds 2.35m in cash from Jonathan Harris, its existing chairman and chief executive, and his brother Richard.

The company, which owns Pepper Angliss & Yarwood, chartered surveyors, plans to make further property acquisitions. However, it is forecasting a pounds 2.8m loss for last year.

Mr Wray shot to prominence in 1983 for masterminding the reverse takeover of Carlton Communications, the media group, by his USM- quoted shell, Fleet Street Letter.

Three years later he took a controlling stake in Chartsearch, a small publisher, and then used it to acquire Burford Group, a property company.