Vanco Shares Suspended

Virtual telecoms network operator Vanco has suspended trading in its shares, issued a profits warning and parted company with its founding chief executive, Allen Timpany.

The Telegraph has reported Timpany still owns 46pc of the shares, but analysts yesterday expected the company to either attempt a rights issue or be put on the block, with IT services companies Accenture and IBM seen as likely suitors.

Andrew Coppel, former chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses and hotels group Queens Moat Houses, has been drafted in as chief restructuring officer.

Vanco warned yesterday that it would be unlikely to publish its audited results for the year ended January 31 2008 by the May 30 deadline, and that its profitability was “being reviewed and may be the subject of revision”.

On April 1, Vanco said it had agreed a £23.3m extension to its revolving credit facility with its banks, taking the total available to £123.3m until 2012.

The company said at the time that the facility provided “good working headroom to meet temporary fluctuations” but yesterday admitted it would only allow “limited headroom”.
Vanco was bought by Mr Allen for £1 in 1988. Two years ago, the company was a darling of the telecoms sector, with its shares peaking at £5 in September 2006. After the industry’s deregulation, Vanco’s business model was to set up international voice and data networks using other companies’ cables.

However, its shares have lost two thirds of their value in the past six months and trading in them was halted yesterday at 64¼p.

Vanco was admitted to the Main Market in November 2001 the same year as it was recognised by the Sunday Times as one of the top 100 fastest growing profitable companies in the UK. Its clients at the time included FT Interactive Data, Staples Office Supplies, Tibbett & Britten, Jefferson Smurfit, Allied Worldwide, Compass Group and Laura Ashley.