ABS a.b.c. learning centres limited

analyst says unseemly haste to sell smells bad

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    0842 [Dow Jones] Citi says ABC Learning's (ABS.AU) plan to sell 60% stake in US business to Morgan Stanley is barely breaking even on the broker's numbers when holding costs are included. Analyst says unseemly haste to sell smells bad. "The urgency with which the sale was conducted indicates the company is under pressure from some source," analyst says. "If the urgency relates to shoring up share price to avoid margin calls, the longer term interests of the majority of shareholders may have been jeopardized for the interests of a few." Adds until significant changes occur at board and executive level, and improved transparency combined with stronger financial disciplines are apparent, ABS will struggle to regain investment grade rating. Keeps Hold, risk raised to speculative. Last trade A$2.14. (SVM)

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