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Electra exits SP&S

The sale has increased Electra’s Net Asset Value per ordinary share by 13 pence since the most recent valuation of £15.5m on 30 September 2000.

Electra Investment Trust has sold its investment in Security Printing & Systems Group Limited (SP&S) to Globalvault plc for £26.2m in cash.

Electra Investment Trust, which has been winding down operations since March 1999, says it will use the capital to reduce bank borrowings. The sale has increased Electra’s Net Asset Value per ordinary share by 13 pence since the most recent valuation of £15.5m on 30 September 2000.

SP&S provides a high security printing service for public sector customers. It is one of the independent companies created from the demerger of The Stationery Office Group (TSOG) in April 1999 which underwent a management buy-in backed by Electra in September 1996. Electra does not have any other interests in former TSOG companies.

In March 1999, Electra adopted a policy of winding up operations to defeat a hostile takeover bid by 3i. By December 2000, £1bn had been received from the sale of investments, equivalent to 75 per cent of the £1.36bn valuation of the portfolio as at 28 February 1999.

The group is due to give an update on its progress at its annual general meeting this week. A key issue is whether a new investment fund is going to be offered to investors wanting to maintain their investment with the firm. When its results were released in May 2000 for the period ended 31 March 2000, Electra said in a statement: “Looking further ahead, the Board is aware of the views that a number of shareholders have expressed in favour of providing some means of continuation or a rollover vehicle to enable those investors who wish to do so to maintain a holding in a successor vehicle. This is something that the Board will take careful account of in due course as the realisation of Electra's portfolio proceeds and as further value becomes available for distribution to shareholders.”