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Huntingdon shares dive on relisting

Huntingdon Life Sciences, the controversial drug testing company which faces the loss of its operating licence, saw its shares slump from 54p to 46.5p yesterday after they were relisted following their suspension late last month.

Huntingdon said at the beginning of the month that it was confident of completing changes demanded by the Home Office of practices relating to its treatment of animals.

The Government has threatened to revoke the group's licence to conduct experiments on animals, saying there had been "extremely serious" failures and omissions at its plant.

The company announced a first-half loss after tax of pounds 308,000 at the beginning of the month, compared with a pounds 2m profit last time. This was after the company incurred costs of pounds 1.1m after disruption following the Home Office investigation into animal cruelty. A 6 per cent fall in sales during the first six months of the year to pounds 34.5m was also partly blamed on such disruption. Ministers have threatened to withdraw Huntingdon's licence, with the loss of 1,400 jobs, unless it can satisfy 16 conditions by the end of November.