Closures cut Staveley profits

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The Independent Online
PROFITS at Staveley Industries, the UK's leading salt producer, more than halved in the year to 2 April as the group incurred pounds 10m one-off costs in closing overseas plants and redundancies, writes Robert Cole.

Staveley made 300 German and US weights and measures division employees redundant, which cost pounds 7.5m. Other charges brought the restructuring bill to pounds 10m.

Taxable profit for the year to 2 April fell from pounds 24.4m to pounds 8.6m while operating profit fell 18 per cent from pounds 24.7m to pounds 20.2m.

The electrical and mechanical services division made pounds 4m, down from pounds 4.4m, while the measurement business's result fell from pounds 8.4m to pounds 5.1m.

Staveley's salt business lifted turnover and profits by 6 per cent, helped by export orders, with additional growth in salt filters for water softening equipment.

Despite the decline in profits, Staveley is to pay an unchanged dividend. The total is 8.5p, uncovered by earnings per share of 3.4p, down from 16.1p. Ignoring the reorganisation charge, earnings of 13p cover the payment 1.6 times.

The stockbroker Kleinwort Benson estimates that profits will expand by 10 per cent this year as the benefits of the restructuring in measurement are felt.

The shares fell 0.5p to 209p.

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