Freeport, the European factory outlet developer, which is in takeover talks, announced the appointment of a new chief executive this morning as it revealed a poor set of annual results

The company, without a chief executive since 31 March, has, as expected, appointed Iestyn Roberts to succeed Sean Collidge, who resigned following the board’s decision to suspend him, it said, ‘pending an investigation into his conduct relating to allegations made about him’.

The 50-year-old Roberts has experience of the factory outlet sector, having been European commercial director of baa McArthurGlen, Europe’s largest factory outlet developer, between 1999 and 2002.

‘The board firmly believes that Iestyn is the right choice for Freeport,’ said chairman Robin Binks.

‘He has the requisite skills and experience needed to turn around the performance of its operations and to execute the existing mainland Europe development strategy.’

Roberts joins after a terrible financial year for the company for the year to 24 June. A £39.7m writedown of its investment properties led to a £51.2m pretax loss and a 23% slump in net asset value to 335p a share. The loss means Freeport does not have sufficient distributable reserves to pay a dividend.

The 12.5% valuation drop resulted from writedowns at Alcochete in Portugal from £152.6m to £134.1m and at Excalibur in the Czech Republic from £39.5m to £29.9m. The site of the former outlet centre in Scotland - between Edinburgh and Glasgow - was written down by £6m to £4m.