Dividend is kept at Ocean

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The Independent Online
A £26m exceptional restructuring charge blew a hole in profits at Ocean Group, the freight-forwarding and environmental services company.

Profit before tax fell from £45.5m to £19.9m in 1994, but the dividend is kept at 14.33p. The shares rose 3p to 301p as the restructuring and the resulting charges were well-flagged in January. They are part of the rejig of the group under John Allan, formerly of BET, who replace Nicholas Barber as chief executive last year. Mr Allan swept out the finance director, the development director and the managing director of McGregor Cory, the contract distribution business.

Two other subsidiary managing directors have also been replaced in the restructuring, which has cost 300 jobs. Some of the provision also relates to asset writedowns and there is a £19.5m charge on reserves.

The company said it expected its markets to remain highly competitive this year but continuing growth in world trade would be a positive factor.