Former chairman attacks Henlys

John Shepherd
Thursday 20 August 1992 23:02

HENLYS, the car dealer and coach builder on the end of a pounds 32m takeover bid from T Cowie, has come under attack from David Matthews, its former chairman and chief executive and the company's biggest shareholder.

Mr Matthews said yesterday: 'As things stand Cowie should win.' He said his remarks should not be construed as sour grapes. He owns 7 per cent of Henlys.

'In fact I have supported the Henlys board so far, but I am now inclined to speak out as I believe I have a duty to attempt to sharpen shareholder value, being the largest individual shareholder.'

However, he said, he needed to declare an interest. 'Whatever the outome of this hard-fought contest, I would like to buy Henlys' heavy vehicle division.'

Mr Matthews said: 'Their (Cowie's) revised offer values Henlys today at a price which the company might be worth at the end of 1993 if it makes profits of, say, pounds 4m, has a nil tax charge and attracts a p/e of 7 - all of which is pretty demanding stuff.'

Henlys' defensive lines have been heavily scrutinised by Mr Matthews, who concluded: 'Part of the Henlys defence is seriously flawed.'

He openly challenges the claim on the front of the latest defence document that the revised offer, launched a week ago, fails to recognise results being achieved by Henlys' new management.

'By no stretch of the imagination can the board be described as new. Apart from Derek Edwards, who is non-executive, there is no new blood at all.'

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