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BBB share deal aims to ease refinancing

Berkeley Berry Birch shareholders have voted in favour of the group devaluing its equity from its flotation price in a bid to attract investor interest for the ailing group.

The group needs to reduce its 11m capital adequacy shortfall and hopes that this measure, along with its new management team and the understanding that private investment is being lined up, will rescue the firm.

At an extraordinary general meeting this week, shareholders passed BBB’s plans to sub-divide existing ordinary shares into 10, with nine becoming practically worthless, in a move which effectively revalues the shares to 1p from the 10p par value.

BBB has been unable to issue new shares under company law because its shares were valued below float price, at 5p, when they were suspended on November 30.

Majority shareholder Cliff Lockyer did not attend the meeting but it is understood that Lockyer and BBB’s product provider shareholders, including Aegon, Scottish Widows and Norwich Union agreed to the deal.

BBB non-executive director Jonathan Hall says: “All resolutions for refinanc- ing have been passed, and preparatory plans are now in place for fund-raising. Our plans will be announced in time for the tribunal on February 13.”

FSA spokeswoman Sam Bennett says: “If firms fail to meet our capital adequacy requirements, we might take action to intervene, which could ultimately lead to deauthorisation.”

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