W&R Barnett lifts stake in troubled Superglass
A COMMODITIES and agricultural business has emerged as the largest shareholder in beleaguered Stirling-based Superglass after a significant reshuffling of stakes in the company in recent days.
W&R Barnett, a 116-year-old Belfast-based family firm, now owns just under 18 per cent of the shares in the main market-listed insulation maker, which has seen its value plunge from more than £120 million to less than £4m in the past five years.
Peter Gyllenhammar, the Swedish activist investor who regularly takes stakes in small-cap companies, has also bought into the company with an 8.16 per cent holding.
A number of longstanding shareholders such as Standard Life Investments and Henderson Global Investors have reduced their holdings in recent days.
No-one from W&R Barnett – whose business interests include animal feed, molasses and a racing horse stud farm – returned calls for comment on the
motives behind its stakebuilding last week but
speculation over possible corporate activity saw the shares rise by as much as 60 per cent at one stage.
Shares in Superglass, which underwent a major financial restructuring earlier this year, were hammered in July after it warned that its second-half sales have been hit by “extremely challenging” trading conditions.
The firm expects its second-half performance will be lower than the first half, when it posted a pre-tax loss of £800,000 on sales of £17.2m.
At the time of its debut on the main market in 2007, the firm was valued at £121.6m, compared to Friday’s market capitalisation of just £3.3m.
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