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Market Watch

FINANCE

THE FUTURE looks grim for Wigmore after founder Peter Hewitt was forced out of the mini-construction conglomerate early this week.

The departure of Mr Hewitt, a former estate agent who brought the business to the Alternative Investment Market in January 2002, follows the appointment of Paul Doona as executive chairman last November and frantic financial juggling earlier this year.

The junior market is now awash with millions of Wigmore shares and the price is languishing at around a tenth of a penny, giving the business a market capitalisation of only £2.3 million.

City gossip suggests that major shareholder Burnbrae only bailed Wigmore out by buying around £950,000-worth of new shares to take control of the firm as a way of securing a stock market listing.

With no institutional investors, retail traders that bought into Wigmore, whose shares once touched 3.5p, are grinding their teeth although many are pleased that Mr Hewitt has been forced out.

One trader left out of pocket by the collapse in Wigmore's share price moaned: 'My next guess is there will be another drop in the share price as I do not believe even if they sold all their assets off they would return the market cap.'

On floatation, Wigmore comprised snagging outfit FNPM and fit-out contractor Speymills before it bought contractor Blanchards for £2 million, mostly in shares, in July 2003.