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Fearnley opens the attack with pounds 1m debenture offer.

Duncan Fearnley, the Worcester-based cricket equipment manufacturer, has published the scorecard of its offer of debenture stock in the re-formed company.

It is seeking to raise up to pounds 1 million to develop the company's brand name and new products as it prepares to take back its profitable distribution business from previous partner Grampian Holdings.

But reporting Midland accountants Langard Lifford Hall note in the offer document "the inherent uncertainty" in the heavily borrowed company's finances - doubts, they say, were allayed after discussions with the directors.

Five years ago, Grampian acquired the marketing rights worldwide, except Australasia and Africa, for Fearnley's cricket products. But that agreement will end from mid-October after Grampian decided to quit the sportswear business.

Grampian Sportswear's company secretary Mr Robert McIntosh is to join Fearnley as finance director later this year.

Duncan Fearnley has been re-formed as a plc to launch the fundraising effort and is offering 6.5 per cent interest on the loans, repayable in three stages over ten years. The company is owned jointly by former Worcester County Cricket Club chairman Mr Du ncan Fearnley and his wife Mary.

But, if successful, the company may decide to launch itself on the Alternative Investment Market, in which case the debenture stock may be convertible into shares.

A minimum pounds 500 investment is required and will not be guaranteed or secured but is transferable. There is also to be no recognised market for the stock but subscribers will be offered a 25 per cent discount on Fearnley products.

Duncan Fearnley Cricket Sales, the manufacturing core of the company, has had dwindling fortunes in the past three years and wants to diversify long term - possibly into hockey equipment - to spread sales round the year.

Turnover of pounds 529,194 and profits of pounds 11,385 in 1995 fell to pounds 376,008 and pounds 3,123 last year, when the company's total bank borrowings amounted to pounds 577,000.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 29, 1998
Words:323
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