27 March 1998
Two step down at Powerscreen

TWO Powerscreen directors stepped down after the Northern Irish engineering group said they had “lost the confidence of the board.”

The resignation of Shay McKeown, chief executive, and Barry Cosgrove follows Financial Times reports that Cosgrove attended a meeting last year at the companys Matbro subsidiary before Powerscreen issued 3 million new shares without warning of the difficulties. The subsequent discovery of “irregularities” forced Powerscreen to announce a £46.7m provision on 27 January.

McKeown will remain on as a consultant. He is likely to be paid monthly fees in line with his previous pay which amounted to £249,000 last year as well as a £247,000 performance bonus and £1.93m in share option gains.

John Craig, non-executive chairman, is temporarily executive chairman and Hubert Watson, who joined the board in February, has become chief operating officer.

The results of an investigation by KPMG, the companys auditor, is expected within a week.

Standard Life plans to write to the Irish stock exchange to see if Powerscreen broke any rules following the sale of shares last December. The Edinburgh mutual bought an undisclosed number of shares one month before Powerscreen announced the profit warning which cut the share price by half.

Matbro makes telescopic handlers which are a cross between a forklift and a tractor.

  • Financial Times 27/03/98 page 22 (Lex), page 23
  • The Times 27/03/98 page 30
  • The Scotsman 27/03/98 page 22 (Lex), page 27
  • The Daily Telegraph 27/03/98 page 35