Confectionery maker Lees Foods has said it will publish preliminary results for last year before a crunch meeting with shareholders to decide whether a proposed management buyout can go ahead.
The move was hailed as a victory by a group of small investors who are opposing the sale on valuation grounds and believe that evidence of soaring profits at the Coatbridge-based firm will strengthen their case.
Chief executive Clive Miquel and his fellow directors launched an all-cash takeover bid to take Lees private last month, but at 230p a share offered only a small premium to the stock market.
Yesterday the company also postponed a planned court hearing and its general meeting, both due to be held on 15 May, until 22 May to give investors time to consider the results.
David Stredder, a Lees shareholder who is also a director of investors’ organisation ShareSoc, said: “We think the results will be very good, so if anything the share price would move up and strengthen our case.”
He said management would also have to address the issue of a dividend when it publishes the results.
ShareSoc argues that a fair takeover offer would be above 300p a share, and says it has enough investors on board to block the management buyout.
The directors, backed by a loan from Lloyds, said they still expect the takeover to be implemented on 12 June, subject to court and shareholder approval.
KRISTY DORSEY AND DOMINIC JEFF
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