February 1, 2010 10:48 pm

Vantis falls £10.7m into red

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Vantis, the Aim-quoted company acting as a liquidator to Stanford International Bank fell £10.7m ($17.1m) into the red in its first half to October 31.

The accountancy and professional services group incurred £11.7m of exceptional charges, mostly an impairment of current and intangible assets after a review following board changes announced in November.

In April last year the company was appointed as liquidator to SIB, the vehicle of Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan businessman accused by US regulators of perpetrating an $8bn (£5bn) “Ponzi” scheme through his offshore bank. In July the High Court found that the centre of main interest for SIB’s UK assets should be in Antigua and Barbuda, and that these assets fell under the control of the liquidator.

However, the US-appointed receiver appealed, and a ruling is awaited from the UK Court of Appeal. A decision is also awaited from the Swiss financial regulator on whether the liquidator or the US receiver should have control of SIB assets in Switzerland.

The loss at Vantis compares with a previous pre-tax profit of £4.6m. Revenue fell to £43.1m (£47.9m).

The company has specialised in work for small and medium-sized companies. Paul Jackson, chief executive, said the SIB case was “not typical of the vast majority of our work”.

Revenue from the business recovery division jumped 43 per cent to £17.4m, but revenue from the advisory and tax division, which includes independent financial advice, fell 17 per cent to £29.6m.

The shares – more than 50 per cent owned by the board, management and staff – closed down 1p at 28p, valuing the equity at £17.6m. Basic losses per share were 15.3p, compared with previous earnings of 6.2p. The interim dividend is omitted.

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