Barratt shares fall from nearly £11 to 58p in 12 months

Times Online -- The future of Barratt Developments, Britain's second-largest housebuilder, hung in the balance Wednesday as its chief executive was forced to reassure the City about its financial position after a collapse in its share price.

Mark Clare, the chief executive, confirmed that Barratt was trading within its banking covenants, but he admitted that talks with its four main lenders were taking place as the company grapples with net debt of £1.7 billion while its market value hovers at about £250 million.

Indeed, Barratt's market value plunged as low as £186 million in late afternoon trading as panic selling set in, sending the shares down 38p to 53p amid fears that the company was working on an emergency funding package just as it calculates what provisions it will be forced to make on its land holdings in time for a financial year ending on June 30.

A year ago Barratt's shares were at almost £11, valuing the company at nearly £3.8 billion. Mr Clare criticised short-sellers for triggering the sharp sell-off in Barratt shares Wednesday.