Bardon slides further

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The Independent Online
LOSSES at Bardon, the Anglo- American quarrying group, rose pounds 8m to pounds 48m in 1993 after a pounds 60m write-down against the assets of Civil and Marine, an aggregates subsidiary whose planned sale fell through, writes Diane Coyle.

Group operating profits fell 12 per cent to pounds 28.2m, with turnover up 5 per cent at pounds 351m. The company said trading conditions were tough on both sides of the Atlantic, but operating profits in the US held steady while they fell from pounds 15m to pounds 9m in the UK.

Pressure on prices was to blame. Bardon said that by the end of 1993 there was some evidence of a slight improvement in margins. Although planned cuts in the road-building programme were a matter for concern, it expected prices to increase.

The sale of Civil and Marine was halted by a downturn in its markets in the second half of the year. It made operating profits of pounds 3.3m in 1993, down from pounds 4.1m, with a fall in volumes in Continental Europe.

Peter Tom, Bardon's chief executive, said Continental demand for marine aggregates was unlikely to improve until the second half of this year, but projects such as the Jubilee Line extension would boost UK deliveries.

A pounds 72m rights issue and dollars 75m loan note placing cut the group's gearing from 89 per cent to 66 per cent at the year-end. The shares rose 1p to 50p.