Delta electronics to shed 400 jobs

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DELTA, THE troubled electronics company, is to axe 400 jobs in the West Midlands, the group said yesterday when it unveiled its second profit warning in as many months.

Shares fell 4 per cent to close at 141.5p as Delta said poor conditions in the UK electrical wholesale market and the plumbing market in Germany were set to continue for the rest of the year.

A Delta spokesperson said the job losses, part of an ongoing restructuring, were twice as bad as predicted. Nonetheless, he added that the pounds 3.5m of exceptional costs set aside in March would still be sufficient to cover redundancy costs.

In March, the group reported profits before tax and exceptionals of pounds 41.7m on turnover of pounds 663m for the year that ended 2 January.

Delta said it was now the final year of its three-year restructuring plan and claimed that strategically much had been achieved for the company."We could have done without what's happening with the German plumbing market and UK wholesale electrical but, in terms of strategically clearing up the group, we are pleased with our strategic progress," the spokesperson said.

But analysts said that the group, which produces electrical switch gear and pipe fittings for plumbing, was a casualty of the malaise affecting manufacturing in general.

One said: "If you keep saying things will get better but they don't, the perception starts to be that there's nothing you can do. They are in markets which have changed so fundamentally and when the margins fall so far there's no way to get them back."