Flotation of Dairy Crest dims

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The Independent Online
THE prospects of an early float for Dairy Crest, the food manufacturing arm of the Milk Marketing Board, receded yesterday as the company announced a sharp drop in profits.

Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March were pounds 2.8m, against pounds 28.2m last time. The slump was caused by pounds 35m of exceptional items.

Dairy Crest spent pounds 20m disposing of five regional dairies, wrote down the value of its London bottling plant by pounds 10m and provided pounds 5m for restructuring.

But underlying operating profits also declined 13 per cent to pounds 33.4m.

John Houliston, chief executive, would not be drawn on the timetable for flotation. 'I am not making the decision,' he said.