Caldwell Investments PLC
02 February 2007
Caldwell Investments reviews current operations and investigates bio-diesel
The board of Caldwell Investments ('Caldwell' or 'the Company') announces that
it has carried out a review of its current operations and is investigating the
feasibility of a biodiesel feedstock project in Brazil.
Caldwell's underwear business has been subject to growing margin pressure.
Retailers are increasingly moving to direct sourcing and the board expects this
will continue to impact turnover in the future. As a result, the board is
planning to reduce its underwear business in Germany with a view to withdrawing
from distribution before the lease on the Company's German warehouse premises
fall due for renewal in December 2008. It is anticipated that Caldwell will
continue to source product for certain of its German customers on an agency
basis, removing the requirement to maintain a storage and distribution centre.
The Company will continue to distribute underwear in the UK and is experiencing
increasing orders in this market in the current financial year.
The Company's baby buggy parasol business, 'NinaClip', is experiencing a reduced
volume of orders which the board believes is due primarily to a change in the
design of baby buggies which now incorporate integral hoods removing the
requirement for a separate parasol. It is the board's intention to continue to
supply this market, although an ongoing reduction in demand is expected and the
operation will therefore be scaled accordingly.
The Company's garden furniture and sun canopy business, 'NinaSun' is also under
review and the board is considering a number of options for this operation,
In consideration of the anticipated changes in its operations, the board has
also taken the decision to dispose of the Company's premises at Skelmersdale,
which is expected to realise a cash gain in excess of £100,000.
In view of the above anticipated changes in its existing businesses, the board
has been actively investigating a new area of operation for Caldwell and has
identified bio-diesel as a rapidly growing market. The board believes this is a
market whose growth will continue to be driven by legislation and the
environmental lobby and one where there is substantial potential demand but
currently limited sources of supply.
An initial review has confirmed the market opportunity for the production of
jatropha crude for the esterification of bio-diesel and the board is now
carrying out a more detailed feasibility study which includes preliminary
discussions with potential esterifiers and commodity brokers, sourcing of key
personnel and the planting of a trial plantation of 1000 jatropha trees in
Brazil. To progress this project further would require a significant
fundraising by Caldwell and shareholder approval. Interest has been expressed
by potential investors in Brazil. The board of Caldwell emphasises that this
project is still at a very early stage, requires further due diligence and is
subject to a number of major uncertainties, including funding, recruitment of
local management, access to suitable land and successful cultivation of the
This information is provided by RNS
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