Hepworth seeks to stop the rot
New chairman Jeremy Lancaster and Jean-Francois Chene, who returns today as chief executive, are determined to stop the rot and have launched a full strategic review.
The dividend has been slashed, the interim payment is down from 5.5p to 3p and the final will be cut from 9p to 5p. Restructuring could start before the year-end but the full outline of the plans will take six months.
There is certainly much to be done. A closure of the factory in Brussels accounted for pounds 5.9m of the profits fall and the group made a disappointing pounds 13m loss on disposals.
The underlying trading performance was also poor. Turnover in the continuing businesses was down 4 per cent to pounds 305m, and profits were down by a third to pounds 21.6m.
Translating profits from UK exports and overseas activities, which together account for 50 per cent of sales, cost the group pounds 5.2m. Redundancy costs and pension charges together cost pounds 1m more than last year.
Currency costs could aggregate to pounds 10m by the year end and pension charges could double to pounds 5m in the second half, rising to a maximum of pounds 11.5m in 1998 when contributions resume.
Analysts have downgraded forecasts for the full year to around pounds 52m, equal to earnings of just under 14p a share, and pounds 60m and 16p of earnings in 1998, which puts the shares on a prospective p/e ratio of 12.8.
The shares have suffered a long decline from a peak of 500p in February 1994 but shareholders will have to wait for the board's review before they can hope to see a recovery. High enough for now.
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Any terrorist seizure of the plane ‘would have required one hell of a piece of planning’
Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Hijackers, pirates or suicide – the theories surrounding the mystery
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Pakistani gang rape victim Amina Bibi dies after setting herself on fire
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global lea...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...