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SCH launches new claim in valuation row.

Byline: Steve Pain

The long running financial wrangle between Birminghambased Specialist Computer Holdings, headed by entrepreneur Peter Rigby, and Compel Group took another twist yesterday.

The row revolves around Compel's 2001 sale of desktop computing services business Compelsource to SCH.

The deal, completed in March of that year, was structured so thatSCH paid out an initial pounds 14.5 million, but retained a further pounds 2 million until it could establish the true value of the business.

Compelsource made a pounds 4.5 million loss on pounds 146.9 million of sales in the eight months prior to its disposal and its future profitability had been difficult to assess given the dramatic fall in demand for the sort of IT equipment and services it provided.

SCH later claimed it had paid pounds 6.6 million too much for the business.

But that was then rejected by an independent inquiry, which judged that SCH should be paid back only pounds 864,000 by Compel out of the total amount it had spent. The balance of the retention sum, amounting to pounds 1,136,000, with interest, was scheduled to be paid by SCH to Compel last Monday.

However, Compel yesterday issued a terse stock market announcement, saying that SCH launched a new claim against it over the valuation of the Compelsource business.

Compel said that on the final day of the period allowed by the sale agreement, SCH had written to the group 'making certain warranty and indemnity claims' amounting to approximately pounds 3.1 million in excess of the amounts already determined by the independent inquiry.

Compel added: 'SCH therefore alleges that it is entitled to retain the balance of the retention sum, and claims a further amount of approximately pounds 2 million from Compel.

'With minor exceptions, these claims relate to matters that formed the basis of SCH's original claim and on which the independent accountant has already determined an adjustment to the net assets value, in accordance with the sale agreement.

'Given the independent accountant's determination in October 2002 and on the basis of further legal advice the directors are confident that the current claim by SCH, with very minor exceptions, is entirely without merit.

'Compel will take appropriate action to defend SCH's claims and to recover the retention sum from SCH.'

No one was available for comment at SCH.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 6, 2003
Words:392
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