Thresher sold twice in two weeks

11 June, 2007

Thresher Group has changed hands for the second time in as many weeks.

The company, which was recently sold to a consortium led by Edmund Truell, has been sold again to Vision Capital which will have a 75 per cent stake in the business.

A statement from Vision said: "A consortium of blue-chip institutional investors led by Edmund Truell recently announced that it had agreed to acquire a group of assets from Terra Firma, including Threshers and Carmelite Capital, the parent of the Thorn pension scheme, together with BrightHouse and Quadriga.

"The consortium intends upon completion, subject to regulatory clearance, to restructure its interests in the Thorn group and now announces an agreement to sell a majority stake in one of the assets, Threshers, to Vision Capital, together with 100 per cent of BrightHouse. The consortium will continue to hold a 25 per cent stake in Threshers.

"In the brief period of ownership the consortium acted rapidly to secure the 85 million Threshers pension fund. A new escrow of 32 million of cash will address the pension liabilities on an FRS 17 basis, whereas the fund was previously in significant deficit.

"Experts drawn from the Pension Insurance Corporation will run the fund going forward: Sir Nicholas Montagu, Graham Cooper, Tracy Blackwell and Mark Gull. It is intended that a range of insurance solutions will be explored in due course.

Vision has a string of diverse investments in its portfolio, encompassing nuclear power, chemicals and food manufacture, and has some drinks trade experience. In 2005 it sold the Avebury Taverns pub chain to Punch.

Guy Hands took the Thresher business with him when he left Nomura to set up Terra Firma in 2002, and is thought to have made a loss on the sale to PIC despite selling shop freeholds in leaseback deals over the past three years.

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