Stock plummets to 12-year low as worries grow
February 24, 2012 by F. Spearjig, SitOnTheCat News
Shares in S&F Holdings plunged to their lowest level in more than a decade on investor concerns that more problems loom for the crippled family run concern. To compound matters, a leaked memo’, apparently from the incumbent chairman, detailing “exit strategies” for senior board members in the event of company administration, has been “doing the rounds” among market traders. Shares closed down £6.12, or 62 percent, at £3.75, after touching an intraday low of £3.03, a value not seen since October 1999. S&F was by far the day’s most-active stock on the SOTC Stock Exchange, now seen by many as a short-seller’s dream.
S&F warned in a Securities and Exchange filing, released after markets closed on Thursday, that it could be forced to admit liability in an ongoing court case between its chairman Sir John Sorebones and former company employee, M.J.Usetobe, who claims to have been unfairly dismissed following what a source close to the board has described as “demonstrably trumped up” and “grossly unfair” allegations of insider trading made by Sir John in January 2011. A guilty verdict would be seen as disastrous for the beleaguered company and would almost certainly result in significant credit cuts by already faltering backers.
Sir John and his wife Fecklessa have kept a low profile ever since the now notorious “Enmity Emails”, sent by Sir John to M.J.Usetobe in February 2011, were forwarded to senior members of the board in an attempt by Usetobe to clear his name. Later, transcripts of the emails, largely comprised of threats and personal insults, were leaked to the tabloid press. The much-publicised boardroom revolt that ensued culminated in a vote of no confidence in the chairman and a three-month enforced ‘furlow’. Described by some as a “loose cannon”, Sir John has nonetheless been tipped to take over the day-to-day running of S&F’s sister company, Dark Angel Holdings – the Newcastle-based manufacturer of equine waste containment, famous for its gritty catchphrase ‘We’re full of Horse Shit’.
“It’s pretty well accepted in the industry that people are staying away from S&F for now,” said Charlie Sammler, market manager for Stick-it-and-Twist Associates in London. “All the love has gone out of this company – it used to be such a good place to work.”
S&F’s filing was a stark warning to investors that it would fail to be a “going concern” if a further credit cut forces it to pay off its debts to partnerships it is currently involved in. “An early payoff of those debts would render S&F unable to service its revolving credit accounts, starting a downward spiral.” said Sammler. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Hoist & Petard said that it may again cut S&F’s BBB-minus rating, which could trigger those debt payoffs.