Buy-out plan for Styles & Wood

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Styles & Wood, shopfitter to some of the UK’s leading retailers, including Tesco and John Lewis, has received a management buy-out proposal.

The Altrincham-based group confirmed late Wednesday that it had received an indicative proposal led by Gerard Quiligotti, its chairman, and Neil Davies, chief executive.

The pair, who led a previous management buy-out of the company from Wembley Group in 1995, have proposed paying 125p a share for Styles & Wood, which would value the company at just over £80m ($157m).

Styles & Wood, which has reported 14 years of sales and profit growth, came to market in late 2006 in a 150p a share initial public offering and its shares peaked at 240p a few months later.

However, the stock has been on the slide amid mounting evidence of a slowdown in consumer spending. The shares touched a fresh low this week and closed up 2¼p at 79½p on Wednesday night prior to the announcement.

In a trading update, Styles & Wood admitted it was experiencing a “tough market environment” but said its order book had grown “satisfactorily”.

As well as supermarkets and high-street retailers, Styles & Wood also designs and fits out branches of Barclays, Lloyds TSB and The Post Office.

The buy-out proposal, financed by an unnamed private equity backer, is being considered by Styles & Wood independent directors Jim Martin and Robert Hough.

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