2 June 1931

Hope for Viking rescue deal

VIKING Cereals members could be close to accepting a rescue package put forward by farmer-owned Centaur Grain.

Meetings between Centaur, members of Viking Cereals and the joint receiver, KPMG, entered a critical stage this week, following an initial approach by Centaur at the beginning of May.

Centaur chairman, Richard Beldam, wrote to his 1300 members recently, saying the company had put a proposed "rescue solution" to Viking members on May 10.

"We were the only organisation considered capable of moving the process forward," he stated. "We hope to have a definitive plan in place before the end of May."

Allan Graham of KPMG Corporate Recovery said last week that the 380 members of Viking Cereals had each been notified of the discussions. "We hope to reach a conclusion shortly."

Viking Cereals went into receivership on Apr 9, reportedly owing tens of millions of £s on exposed futures trading. The extent of farmer-member liability is unknown.

Details of Centaurs rescue package are unclear, but it is understood to involve some forward protection for Viking members and a marketing agreement. A Viking Cereals working group, set up to protect members interests, is believed to be backing the package. &#42