Delisting is not on the cards, says Tenon boss

Tenon chief executive Andy Raynor has denied speculation that the listed
account-ancy firm – one of only two still trading on the public markets – is
planning to go private.

Reports suggested that Tenon had approached private equity firm Alchemy
Partners to take it off the AIM boards where its shares trade. But Raynor said
that the claims were unfounded, adding that the firm remained committed to

‘We are dedicated to increasing real shareholder value and repeat our stated
objective to achieve this by all available means,’ Raynor told Accountancy
, as Tenon released its final results for the year ended 30 June 2005.

The group’s turnover climbed from £80.6m to £100m, while pre-tax profits
before goodwill amortisation, terminated operations and exceptionals increased
24% from £6.8m to £8.4m. Profits after the exceptional items improved from £2.8m
to £3.1m.

Stuart Duncan, analyst at Numis, said the results were ‘solid’ and ‘well
ahead of expectations’.

He added: ‘The prospects for the business are good. Tenon has the advantage
of cross-selling across its service offerings and the option of adding people to
its teams through further acquisitions.’

Despite the results and upbeat prospects from analysts, Tenon has struggled
to translate its solid performance into its share price, which Raynor conceded
had been a cause of major frustration for the consolidator’s board.

‘It is disappointing that our share price has not yet made progress against
the background of profits, cash generation and opportunities for the group,’
Raynor said. He added that the firm would conduct a strategic review of its
structure, management and operations.

The flat performance of the firm’s stock relative to the growth the business
has delivered is thought to have stoked rumours about Tenon going private. Over
the past year, the company’s shares have been fairly illiquid, trading within a
30p to 36p band. Investor appetite for the accounting group appears to be
limited, prompting whisperings that it would be better served by moving out of
the public glare and regulatory burden of the market.

Raynor, however, has vowed to continue growing Tenon’s market share. ‘We will
continue to promote aggressively the commercial benefits of our advice. We will
spotlight areas of specialism within our business with the objective of gaining
the greatest market presence and value,’ he said.


Brewer reduces pensions deficit and Marconi rewards CFO for cutting costs and
improving efficiencies

CFO Pavi Binning saw his total pay package more than double
this year, despite the group losing out on a bid for a BT contract that saw its
share price fall from 507.5p to a low point of 298p within two days. Binning
earned £157,000 in 2004, but took home £347,000 for the year ending 31 March
2005. The package consisted of a £299,000 salary and £48,000 in benefits.
Binning has played an important role in cutting costs and improving
efficiencies. Over the period Marconi’s sales dropped from £1.5bn to £1.3bn, but
the group managed to reduce a pre-tax loss of £171m in 2004 to £27m in 2005.

The brewer of Banks’ Originaland Mansfield Bitter ales,
Wolverhampton & Dudley, has reduced its pension deficit
under FRS17 with a one-off £29m contribution to its final salary scheme. The
FTSE250 group was able to make the contribution after refinancing debt by
replacing existing debentures and bank debt with a new £250m bank facility and a
£805m securitisation.

Vantis chairman Paul Gourmand has announced that the accounting
consolidator is on track to grow turnover to £68.2m by the end of 2006. Speaking
at the group’s AGM, Gourmand said there had been good progress across all areas
of the business and that market prospects remained encouraging. Gourmand said
the integration of the six Numerica offices Vantis acquired in May was moving
according to plan. Vantis has been very successful in its consolidation of
smaller accounting firms, reporting 59% growth in turnover to £37.7m for the
year ended April 2005.

An audit report by Ryder Scott has indicated that embattled petroleum group
Regal does have quality proven and probable oil reservesin the
Ukraine. There were serious question marks over whether Regal’s exploration
sites in Greece and the Ukraine were of any value, but the Ryder Scott audit
report said that Regal had 169 million barrels of proven and probable reserves,
which was close to the previous estimate of 174 million barrels.

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