AssetCo to issue £10m new equity

CASH-STRAPPED fire engine operator AssetCo said it had turned to its investors for money yesterday as it could not reach agreement with its potential buyer.

AssetCo’s board has been in exclusive talks with Bahraini bank Arcapita for months to try and secure a last-ditch sale that would see it saved from bankruptcy.

But it admitted yesterday that its sorry finances and reliance on its creditor banks had stalled the talks and it would source £10m of fresh working capital from its institutional investors to keep it afloat.

“Discussions with a potential offeror have reached a very advanced stage but we have not been able to reach agreement, and as the potential offeror also needs to reach agreement with the banks, there can be no certainty that there will be an offer for the company,” it said.

The investors include Bermuda-based Utilico Investments; Gartmore owner Henderson; and North Atlantic Value, part of J O Hambro, though Assetco said other institutional investors may also be invited to take part. It added that some creditors would also accept compromises on their repayment.

However, the move would dramatically dilute all other shareholdings as AssetCo’s share price is just 2.5p.

AssetCo also said it had again postponed a court hearing over a creditor’s petition until 25 August.