Analysts said they had been led to expect losses, but nothing like the pounds 3.09m pre-tax reported for the six months to 30 June. Last year Campari made a profit of pounds 1.03m in the half-year.
In May, the company issued a profit warning to 'correct' stockbrokers' estimates, saying it expected to do no more than break even in the whole of this financial year. As the second half is kinder to it than the first, analysts took this to mean there would be a loss of about pounds 500,000 in the first half.
Only two months earlier, in March, it had warned that profits for the 1992 financial year, due to be announced in April, would be 'not less than pounds 1m' compared with pounds 5.3m the year before.
Kit Maunsell, chief executive, said the management had been caught unaware by the extent of the downturn in Europe, its main market. The company had also had problems with the delivery and quality of goods manufactured in the Far East and the Mediterranean basin. 'When things are going well this is no problem but when things are going badly people use this an excuse not to take it,' he said. Prices had been cut to get rid of the stock overhang.
The company does not expect to return to profitability until 1994 at the earliest.
Mr Maunsell said the management had been strengthened. A new expatriate manager had been appointed to oversee manufacturing in the Far East, and David Palmer, a chartered accountant, was appointed finance director in August.
Turnover increased to pounds 20m from pounds 18.7m. After the effects of foreign currency translation and new European operations are stripped out, however, like-for-like turnover is down 6 per cent.
The loss per share is 29.01p against earnings of 7.27p. There is no interim dividend.Reuse content