City File: Simon Engineering

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The Independent Online
EARLIER this year the smell of scorched flesh hovered over Simon Engineering, whose shares sank to a fifth of their 171p high last September. As befits a maker of fire-fighting equipment, it has now brought in its very own pyro-technician - Dr Maurice Dixson, a former director of GEC and senior executive at BAe.

Mr Dixson will start wearing the chief executive's hard hat on Wednesday, just as Simon delivers abysmal interims. It is expected to show pre- tax losses of some pounds 8m, down from profits of pounds 6.1m.

The group's assets outweight its market capitalisation and debt, and news of Mr Dixson's arrival saw the shares climb back to 71p. But with the group hit by poor trading and the petroleum revenue tax, he will need all his skills to put out the flames.