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Gleeson asks shareholders to get rid of building arm

DOCUMENTS recommending Gleeson's plan to sell its building business to a management team are being sent to shareholders this week.

Shareholders will have three weeks to vote on the proposal. It follows the firm's announcement in March that it was quitting building after racking up losses of £16 million in the six months to December.

Chairman Dermot Gleeson decided to throw in the towel after concluding the firm 'had better things to do with our time, energy and money' Gleeson had hoped to sign off the deal with the management team today (Thursday) before its new financial year begins on July 1.

But it now looks like the deal will not be completed until next month, although the division's trading performance after July 1 will not be included in the group's next set of results. A spokesman said: 'The deal should be wrapped up by the middle of July.'

The £300 million turnover arm is being bought by a team led by building boss Martin Smout. Initially the firm will keep the Gleeson Building name and Gleeson will take a minority stake in the new business.

The building business will remain at Gleeson's head office in North Cheam, Surrey, for six months before moving to new premises in the area.