Excalibur halves dividend

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EXCALIBUR, the consumer products and precision engineering group, halved its interim dividend to 0.2p as it reported depressed sales of jewellery and announced a collapse into the red, writes Patrick Hosking.

The group warned it might axe more jobs in its jewellery arm unless sales improved soon. A large customer is Ratners Group, which has been hit by weak demand.

The group slipped to a pre-tax loss of pounds 183,000 in the six months to 31 October from restated profits of pounds 905,000 last time. Sales fell from pounds 33.4m to pounds 30.3m.

The engineering businesses performed well but industrial products did less well. Hi-ton, the tractor gears maker, which has already been restructured, continues to lose money. The board said it saw little prospect of a recovery in consumer products in 1993. The shares fell 2p to 8 1/2p.