MWB Group said this morning the economic climate and credit crunch meant the proposed sale of its three operating businesses by the end of the year was ‘less likely’ but a sale would still happen in the future.

In an interim trading statement to the Stock Exchange this morning the group, which comprises the Hotel du Vin and Malmaison boutique hotel chain, the MWB Business Exchange serviced office firm and retailer Liberty, said that a sale this year was ‘less likely to be achieved at prices reflecting their current financial success and strong brand values.’

The group said: ‘As a result, the board firmly believes that it is in the best interests of all shareholders that the cash distribution programme is extended until December 2010 in line with the approval granted by shareholders at its implementation.

‘However, it remains the clear intention of the whole Board to sell these businesses as soon as market conditions recover sufficiently to realise full shareholder value. The nature and timing of the realisation programme will continue to be kept under review and the Board has retained Lazard for this purpose.'

Eric Sanderson, MWB chairman, said: 'I continue to be heartened by the performance of our operating businesses in the current climate and believe that the extended arrangements are in the best interests of all our shareholders.’

He said that during the period from 1 January to 10 April 2008, its three operating businesses maintained ‘the exceptional performances they achieved in the year to December 2007, and to date have exceeded last year's EBITDAs, despite market conditions’.