The troubled UK cider group, HP Bulmer, has said that it may have to consider takeover offers following a further deterioration in trading. The company said it was considering a rescue rights issue or even selling the company, adding that it "will initiate, as appropriate, discussions with potentially interested parties which, in due course may or may not lead to an offer being made for Bulmers".

The company issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Friday saying there had been a "further deterioration in trading" in Europe and North America. Bulmer, which has debts of £107m and 260% gearing, said it also might run out of working capital during the coming 12 months and that its existing banking covenants might be breached by April 25.

The trading statement was issued as the company sent a disposal circular related to the sale of its Australian subsidiary for £22.5m. The company is required under Stock Exchange rules to give an update on trading and a review of its working capital position with the disposal circular.

The circular suggested that trading had worsened since the publication of its interim results around six weeks ago. "Since this announcement, the board believes that further deterioration in trading may be experienced in international markets, particularly in Europe and North America, where restructuring has occurred or is under way," the company said.

An equity issue would probably take the form of a discounted rescue rights issue but analysts have suggested this would not meet with the approval of shareholders. The company's share price has fallen from 429p a year ago to just 131p on Friday.