EPPA looks to new survival plan as Spiteri deal stalls

European lobbying firm EPPA is to secure its future, despite the

failure of an outside investor to inject much-needed cash.

Financier Patrick Spiteri's expected investment, which was to have

assured the status of EPPA as the only independent Europe-wide public

affairs firm, has been stalled by technical hitches.

Chairman Scott Hamilton wrote to staff two weeks ago outlining the

difficulties facing the firm. In a memo, he blamed restructuring and the

move into new offices in London and Brussels for the cash squeeze.

Hamilton told staff that directors had foregone payments 'and in some

cases facilitated or underwritten loans to the business'. The lenders

included Hamilton himself, MD Per Utterback, and directors Stefan

Schepers, Liz Spencer and Rudiger May.

'My fellow directors are aware of the need for this finance and have

started exploring new options,' Hamilton wrote.

Hamilton said the board is not planning to sell the agency, but has

opened talks 'with a range of potential strategic partners'.

He said a resolution was expected at a round-table meeting next week in

which the agency, Spiteri, and both sets of advisers are to flesh out

terms. These are expected to include a mix of Spiteri taking equity in

the firm, and making a loan to the balance sheet.

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