Richardsons Capital, the UK property developer, has bought derivatives over 9.3% of Rank and given its public backing to the troubled bingo and gaming group. Financial Times, Daily Telegraph

Director Lee Richardson said the interest had been secured using contracts for difference. However, he added that Richardsons had the financial resources to convert the derivatives into ordinary voting stock immediately if it desired.

CFDs do not carry votes and escape stamp duty and can be bought in size without triggering any obligation to disclose the holding.

Rank shares have failed to recover after a profit warning wiped 21% from its market value in October, when Rank said trading had suffered due to the smoking ban in England, and the Gambling Act’s exclusion of certain fruit machines from its clubs.

A further trading update is due on Wednesday.