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Blagden hit by price war in Europe

A VICIOUS price war has undermined profits at Blagden Industries, the steel drum manufacturer.

Blagden was also hit by rising raw material costs. Operating profits fell from pounds 10.9m to pounds 5.9m for the year to 2 January. No final dividend is proposed.

A raft of reorganisation costs taken as exceptional items meant the company made a loss before tax of pounds 10.6m against profits last time of pounds 7.6m.

Turnover was more or less maintained at pounds 225m, down from pounds 230m, but the operating profit margin slumped from 4.7 to 2.6 per cent as the company met price competition head on. Blagden was engaged in a price war with German manufacturers, but said yesterday that it had maintained its market share.

Reorganisation costs of pounds 13.3m have been incurred trying to reduce overheads in Blagden's drum-making capacity. Measures taken include reducing numbers employed from 2,600 to 2,200 and closing a factory in Paisley, near Glasgow.

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