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Ferranti Limited

Volume 983: debated on Thursday 24 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what recent representations the National Enterprise Board has received on the future of the public stake in Ferranti Limited; what reply has been made; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the cost of the public stake in Ferranti Limited when it was acquired by the National Enterprise Board; what is its value now; and if he will give the increase in percentage as well as money terms.

In February 1976 the board aquired from my Department 4,000,000 ordinary 50p voting shares and 2,666,666 ordinary 50p restricted-voting shares in Ferranti Ltd. at a total cost of £8·67 million. (My Department also transferred to the board a loan of £6·34 million which was repaid by the company in 1977). In September 1978 the company issued one new ordinary 50p voting share for each ordinary 50p voting or restricted voting share held, and converted its restricted-voting shares into ordinary 50p voting shares. The board then reduced its holding to 10,666,666 shares. The Stock Exchange closing price of these share was £5·15 each on 21 April 1980, implying a value of about £54·93 million for the board's holding. But, because of the share restructuring in 1978 and the board's subsequent sale of shares, the current value of the board's present holding cannot be compared directly with the cost to it of acquiring its original holdings in 1976.