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Rutland sells Coppice group

Rutland Trust has sold its interest in Coppice Group in a management buyout. The manufacturer and supplier of aluminium foil containers has been sold to MELH 888 Limited, a new company owned by Lloyds TSB Development Capital and the managing director of Coppice.

Rutland has received a total of GBP4.65 million including the repayment of its GBP0.75 million shareholder loan. The consideration comprises GBP4.2 million in cash and GBP0.45 million by way of a loan note, of which GBP0.2 million is to be redeemed on September 30, 2002 and the balance on March 8, 2005.

The acquiror has assumed all bank borrowing obligations of Coppice, which amounted to around GBP10.6 million at completion. Of this amount, Rutland was providing GBP5 million cash security from which it has now been released in full.

Coppice was formerly part of Capital Industries. Rutland acquired Coppice in May 1999 pursuant to the firm’s bid for Capital Industries in a deal valued at approximately GBP50 million including around GBP20 million equity and GBP30 million debt. Based near Bridgend in South Wales, Coppice made a consolidated operating profit of GBP2.1 million on turnover of GBP17.6 million for the year to December 31, 2000.

The sale of Coppice is in line with Rutland’s strategy of realising, when an opportunity arises, its historic investments held at the time of Rutland’s conversion to investment trust status in May 2000. Last year Rutland Trust returned GBP40 million to shareholders following successful realisations from the fund. The net cash proceeds from the sale of Coppice will be added to Rutland’s liquid resources and its commitment to the Rutland fund, a private equity fund which closed in March last year at GBP210 million.