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Folkes' grip tightens with sibling's stake.

Byline: RICHARD TYLER CITY EDITOR

Midland multi-millionaire Constantine Folkes has consolidated his grip his family's 300-year-old Black Country engineering and property group by buying out his brother's stake.

James Folkes, a former director, was paid pounds 2.34 million for his 2.5 per cent of the company's voting shares and two per cent of the non-voting shares.

The shares were held within John Folkes' - James and Constantine's now deceased father - will trust fund and their transfer means Constantine Folkes, his wife Angela and his son Samson, now directly control 66 per cent of the voting shares and five per cent of the non-voting.

His private property company Remlane also holds 27 per cent of the non-voting shares.

The deal took place last week, but was only revealed to the stock exchange yesterday.

On Friday, Mr Folkes launched a pounds 4.6 million bid to buy even more voting and non-voting shares from the non-family shareholders - a move that if successful means he controls more than 75 per cent of the voting shares.

He is offering to pay 120p for each voting share and 95p for each non-voting, 60 and 46 per cent more than he paid his brother.

Folkes' independent directors are assessing the offer and will make their recommendation to shareholders by Friday.

But on Monday Mr Hartley said the unexpected bid raised a number of questions, including whether Mr Folkes intended to use the 75 per cent holding to table and pass special resolutions that could see the board dismissed and the shares delisted.

This would leave the remaining non-family shareholders without a market in which to trade their shares, he argued.

The tender offer comes just days after Mr Folkes agreed to pay the Lye-based group more than pounds 3.7 million in damages in an out-of-court settlement, following a 15-month investigation by the Inland Revenue into allegations that he had misappropriated the company's resources over a ten-year period.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 10, 2001
Words:323
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