Bernard Matthews slumps

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The Independent Online
PRE-TAX PROFITS at Bernard Matthews, the poultry processor, slumped by two thirds to pounds 2.1m for the 28 weeks to 12 July and the company warned that full-year profits would be halved, writes John Murray.

Bernard Matthews, founder and chairman, told the annual meeting in May that profits for the first half would be down significantly. The interim dividend is halved to 1p.

Mr Matthews, who owns 40 per cent of the company, said Easter sales had been poor and trading conditions continued to be extremely difficult, because of price-cutting by US and European producers.

'We are making every effort to alleviate the situation,' he said. The company is preparing to market its products in continental Europe. 'We believe that in the short term the UK market will continue to be depressed,' Mr Matthews said. The shares closed down 1p at 38p.