MINOAN saw shares climb more than 30 per cent yesterday after revealing it had been approached about selling a “significant” stake in its Crete development.

The AIM-listed group also reported that it has signed an exclusivity agreement with the preferred buyer of its travel and leisure business and due diligence is underway.

The sale will leave Minoan free to concentrate fully on its perennially delayed Itanos Gaia resort on the Greek island, which last June was given final planning consent after more than a decade of delays.

Minoan has appointed an experienced corporate advisor with an understanding of Greece to assist in the process.

In parallel with this appointment, additional detailed site studies have been commissioned. These, the group said, are ongoing and will hasten the progress of the project and enhance its current value.

In a trading update, Minoan said: “The company has recently received an approach from a credible party which has expressed an interest in acquiring a significant stake in the project. Discussions are at an early stage and the company will provide shareholders with an update in due course.”

Ahead of publishing its full-year results later this month, Minoan said trading for the travel and leisure division for the first fiscal quarter was up 15 per cent.

In December, Minoan abandoned plans to raise £1 million through a broker offer after it failed to generate enough interest from investors.

The group said yesterday that with the current share price offering a 70% discount on its last published net asset value of £43m debt funding was preferable to a share issue for funding.