Anglian Water sheds 900 jobs: Union official attacks restructuring plans as immoral following pounds 132m profit

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The Independent Online
ANGLIAN Water is cutting 900 jobs over the next three years as part of a radical overhaul of the company to produce savings of pounds 20m a year by 1986.

The company is making a pounds 60m charge to cover the costs of redundancies, which will be across the board and will follow a year-long strategic review. Bernard Henderson, chairman, said management layers and overheads would be stripped out and administrative operations streamlined.

Anglian, based in the Prime Minister's Huntingdon constituency in Cambridgeshire, yesterday announced pre-tax profits before the provisions of pounds 192.2m, up 3.7 per cent.

Mr Henderson said: 'Our results reflect continued progress. The restructuring of our regulated business will bring significant long-term benefits.' Savings would feed through this year.

The cuts, which will reduce the workforce to around 4,300 from the current 5,200, are the first at Anglian since privatisation in December 1989. Around 600 of the losses will come into effect this year with the other 300 going by the 1996/7 financial year.

John Hockenhull, a regional official with the GMB union, said: 'It is scandalous and immoral for companies to announce job losses alongside huge profits.'

Including the exceptional charge, profits fell from pounds 185.4m to pounds 132.2m. A final dividend of 15.5p makes 22.8p, up 8.1 per cent.

Operating profit at the regulated water supply and sewerage business fell to pounds 171.6m from pounds 216.2m. Anglian said the core water business did well thanks to more housebuilding. However, the number of homes cut off rose fourfold from 214 to 978.

The non-regulated process engineering group swung to an operating profit of pounds 2.3m from a loss of pounds 3.2m, and it achieved break-even after interest costs. But losses for its non-regulated international activities widened to pounds 1.5m from pounds 600,000. Capital investment rose 13.5 per cent to pounds 372m.

Anglian said nearly pounds 115m had been retained in the business by way of depreciation, provisions and retained profits to help fund future capital investment.