Lupus Capital swings into the red after boardroom battle with Greg Hutchings

LUPUS Capital, the industrial buyout group, swung into the red over the past year during a period of board upheaval that saw the firm oust entrepreneur Greg Hutchings as chairman.

Lupus said yesterday it made a pre-tax loss of £649,000 for the year to December, compared with a profit of £10.79m in 2008. Revenue fell 9.4 per cent to £241.6m.

The slump came after a loan default last year triggered the removal of Hutchings, who is credited with building up engineering conglomerate Tomkins until he left in 2003 after a row over the misuse of corporate expenses. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Since leaving Lupus, Hutchings has since tried twice to reinstate himself to the board, but failed in both attempts, the latest just last month.

The group said yesterday that 2010 had started with all its business significantly outperforming the depressed levels it saw last year.

But newly-appointed chief executive Louis Eperjesi said the outlook remained uncertain, warning: “The seasonal nature of our building products businesses means that the first quarter of the financial year offers little visibility of future trading trends.”

The company, which also supplies building products to the oil and gas industry, said it would not pay a final dividend until its net debt ratios had reduced.