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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 17:39 GMT
New Year cashback for rail investors
Train
Investors are still angry over the Railtrack collapse
Investors in collapsed railway management company Railtrack will get some of their money back early next month, the firm's liquidators said today.

Shareholders will receive an initial payment of 2 ($3.18) per share on Friday 10 January, provided they have registered with RT Group - Railtrack's parent company - by 30 December.

Deloitte & Touche, the audit firm in charge of selling off Railtrack's assets, said it planned to give shareholders a further payment of between 52 and 60 pence per share next year.

Some investors condemned the offer as too low, and said they would press ahead with plans to sue the government for more money.

"The payment does not reflect the proper valuation of Railtrack shares," said David Green, a lawyer for the Railtrack Private Shareholders' Action Group (RPSAG).

"The group still believes that the shares are worth considerably more than is currently on offer, and will continue to fight for a proper valuation."

Mr Green called on Railtrack investors to donate 10p per share to help fund the Group's legal battle.

Investor anger

Railtrack collapsed in October last year after then transport secretary Stephen Byers opted to put the firm into administration rather than give it more taxpayers' money to fund urgently needed track upgrades.

The decision outraged Railtrack shareholders, with many arguing that the company's finances were sound even if it lacked the cash to carry out extensive track repairs.

The move undermined the City's faith in government efforts to attract private investment into public services, and left investors out of pocket.

Railtrack's shares were suspended at 280p per share, 80p below their stock market debut price of 360p, and down sharply from their peak of 17.

Deloitte & Touche said shareholders would receive the full balance of the liquidation payment only if plans to sell off Railtrack's remaining assets went ahead smoothly.

The liquidators are planning to hold onto one penny per share for six years to cover any unforeseen costs.

The UK's railway infrastructure is now run by the not-for-profit body Network Rail, which took over from Railtrack in October this year.


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