CI Group falls back in first half

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THE WEST Midlands engineering company CI Group is maintaining its interim dividend of 0.825p despite a 17 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to pounds 1.4m for the six months to 31 July, writes John Murray.

The group has rationalised heavily since a new management team took over last year, and turnover fell 11 per cent to pounds 35m. Earnings per share declined 16 per cent to 1.12p.

CI said it sold another business, Redman Modular Systems, in addition to the capital goods companies it disposed of last year. The sale resulted in an extraordinary charge of pounds 377,000, a figure expected to rise to about pounds 1m for the full year, according to the finance director, Gordon Pullan.

The chairman, Patrick McTighe, said the company's cash position was improving despite the poor trading conditions and the bleak economic outlook.

'We have to plan on the basis that the economy will remain difficult, which means seeking even more efficiency,' he added.

The shares lost 2p to 19p.