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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide General Meeting today set to endorse rescue plan

Countrywide’s eagerly-awaited General Meeting for shareholders takes place today and is widely expected to back the ailing agency group’s controversial rescue plan.

The company’s major institutional investors have already indicated support for the proposal to raise £129m - or £140m before fees - via two share offers at a massively discounted rate of only 10p a share. 

To say the fund-raise has been troubled is something of an understatement. 

Over a quarter of existing shareholders offered ‘open offer’ 10p share in one of the offers declined the invitation, although this is now being taken up by some other existing and new investors. 

This followed what many analysts believe was a humiliating climbdown by the company, dropping a specific provision of the rescue deal which would have given executive chairman Peter Long, group managing director Paul Creffield and finance director Himanshu Raja incentive packages worth £20m between them.

To cap it all there has been a rollercoaster ride for Countrywide’s share price, even since it fell a the cliff at the announcement of the rescue package, collapsing from 49p to around 14p in one day early this month.

At the start of last week the price fell by another seven per cent in one day, although recovered almost exactly the same amount the next day.

The decision of today’s meeting will be revealed, probably later today.

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