The taxman says three and a half million people are due a refund, but two million will have to fork out for underpaid tax.
AEA warns over shares 'wipe-out'
AEA Technology, which advises on climate change, has issued a warning to shareholders
A climate change consultancy that advised the White House has warned shareholders would be left with "little or no value" as it considers its future after failing to find a solution to its balance sheet woes.
Oxfordshire-based AEA Technology - previously part of the old Atomic Energy Authority - said it was looking at all options for the firm, but warned investors could be left with nothing even if it seals a rescue takeover.
AEA has seen its stock market value all but wiped out after taking a gamble on US expansion that failed to pay off. Shares have plunged another 75%.
It has been hit by weaker-than-expected trading at its Washington-based business Project Performance Corporation (PPC) and is now sinking under a £34.3 million debt pile and £165.5 million in pension liabilities.
The group said a turnaround plan drawn up by interim chief executive John Lowry - who took over after Andrew McCree quit in the wake of a profits warning in November - was not enough to address the debts and pension costs.
AEA said: "The board has been unable to achieve a long term solution to the existing levels of net debt and the significant ongoing funding costs of the group's retirement benefit obligations."
It added: "The board has decided to consider all strategic options to realise value. However, the board does not envisage there will be offers for the share capital of the company and the board expects that such options will result in little or no value for shareholders."
AEA paid £33.1 million for PPC in 2008 to gain a slice of climate change consultancy work for the US government at a time when environmental policy was top of the agenda. Two years later, AEA bought another US consultancy called ERG in Massachusetts, forking out 83 million US dollars (£53.2 million) in a mammoth reverse takeover for the group.
The PPC takeover was initially hailed as a success, with the US arm securing major contracts advising the Obama government on how to implement pledges on climate change.
But the US business has suffered as PPC's trading was impacted by the late placement of some business and certain orders not being won.
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