First-half losses deepen at YRM

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EARLY signs of an upturn in the property development cycle are yet to filter through to architects' practices, according to YRM, which yesterday announced deeper first-half losses and a passed interim dividend.

Tony Hunt, chairman, warned: 'While we are heartened by the return of some confidence into the sector, it may be some time before we benefit directly from any upturn.'

A 10 per cent reduction in the workforce in the first half had been followed by a further 20 redundancies since the interim stage, reducing staff numbers to 220, less than half the level of three years ago.

Job cuts cost pounds 123,000 in the first half, compared with a pounds 345,000 charge in the whole of last year. That contributed to a pounds 1.19m pre-tax loss from sales of pounds 5.5m, more than double last year's pounds 498,000 loss, struck from turnover of pounds 7.89m. The loss per share was 8.15p (2.78p) and there was no dividend. After a 0.5p payout at last year's half-way stage the final was also cut.

Tim Poulson, chief executive, said that commissions had been received to renovate nine hotels in eastern Germany for a Thai investor. In the UK, YRM is working on proposals for the planned Crossrail link from Liverpool Street to Paddington.

He said the group's banking facilities had been renewed and that drawn-out negotiations over a hotel development in Prague had finally been concluded.

The shares, which reached 182p shortly after the company's flotation in 1987, closed 2p lower at 26p.