Jessops shareholders urged to support wind-up

INVESTORS in the former Jessops camera retailing business were today urged to approve the wind-up of the company or risk getting nothing for their shares.

Shareholders have until tomorrow to vote on the voluntary liquidation of Jessops plc, which owned the group's 213 stores and website until September last year.

The plc - labouring under a huge debt burden - sold assets to a new company 47%-owned by bank HSBC and 33%-owned by pension trustees, with the remaining 20% held by an employee trust.

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A meeting on Thursday is set to wind-up Jessops plc, with shareholders receiving just 9.7p for every 100 shares owned if the liquidation is approved.

"If shareholders do not vote in favour of the proposal there is no guarantee that they will receive anything at all," the company warned.

Whatever the outcome of the vote, the new business, Jessop Group Limited, will continue to trade as before.

HSBC has given the 'new' Jessops a 54 million loan to pay the debts of the old company but is waiving 34 million of this in return for its 47% share in the bank, leaving the new firm with debts of 20 million.

Jessops began life in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester.

The firm reaped the rewards of the boom in digital cameras in recent years, but struggled when high street and internet competitors entered the market, forcing a major overhaul of the group in 2007 and a swathe of store closures before September's restructuring.