Northern Rock results delayed

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Northern Rock was due to issue full figures this week but now plans to delay until the end of March. It is likely that concerns will be raised in the market by the lack of published numbers and that shares in the crisis-torn bank should be suspended.

Shareholders in the bank will not have access to the financial situation until weeks after the Government has disposed of the business.

To date, there are 3 proposals on the table for Northern Rock who include a consortium led by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Olivant, run by Luqman Arnold, former Abbey chief executive. In addition, a standalone plan is being developed by the board of Northern Rock. The latest figures and numbers are likely to be shared with Virgin and Olivant.

It is understood that one group that made an approach to rescue the bank last autumn had requested the shares be suspended in October to allow a clean sale. However, the suggestion was denied by the board and the Financial Services Authority.

Banking strategists believe the Office for National Statistics (ONS), may decide that the plan to give a Government guarantee on £25 billion of Northern Rock bonds could mean the entire bank will need to be regarded as in public hands. If so, that would add over £100 billion to national debt.

Bidders for the bank have until the deadline of 4 February to come forward with rescue proposals.


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