Baird profit warning after hard Christmas

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The Independent Online
WILLIAM BAIRD, the clothes maker that counts Marks & Spencer as an important customer, warned yesterday that poor Christmas trading would hold back profits for the year, writes Robert Cole.

Despite the bad news, shares in the company rose in response to rumours that Baird may become the subject of a takeover attempt.

Dealers believe the management is weak and a predator may be tempted by Baird's relatively depressed share price.

Stockbrokers revised their profit estimates sharply downwards in the wake of the profit warning. Mark Puleikis of Smith New Court reduced his profit forecast for the year ended last December from pounds 25.5m to pounds 22.5m. For this year he now thinks Baird will make pounds 27.5m compared with his previous estimate of pounds 31m.

Donald Parr, the chairman, said: 'Trading during the final quarter, including the important Christmas period, remained difficult particularly in branded ladies' wear where margin reductions were necessary to clear stocks.'

Mr Parr said that the company had encountered particular problems at Berkertex, which it bought from receivership in late 1992.

The shares closed 4p up at 255p.