Tillman may buy Austin Reed if share price falls

Fashion entrepreneur Harold Tillman may bid for struggling clothing retailer Austin Reed if full-year results expected in April knock the share price.

Austin Reed's shares closed at 134.5p on Tuesday, following poor Christmas trading figures announced last week and the departure of chief executive Roger Jennings. However, Tillman - who owns Jaeger - said he did not believe this took into account additional debt accrued this year.

Tillman thought the shares were worth 'not much more than£1'. He admitted he did not know what the debt is, but estimated it to be approximately£20 million, following the investment in the Regent Street flagship.

Separately, a provision that requires Tillman to apply to the courts for permission to be a company director will expire next month.

Tillman has borne the three-year restriction since February 2001, when it was imposed by the High Court of Justice, following events at bar operator Launchexcept, where he was a director.

Tillman is director of several companies and said the lifting of the restriction would not have a significant effect.

- Jennings quits: page 4.