Ibstock shutdown warning

Ibstock confirmed the fragile state of the housebuilding industry yesterday, warning that it would have to shut down part of its brick-making capacity during the winter to prevent stocks rising above current levels. Unspecified temporary job losses are inevitable. Ibstock boosted its share of the UK brick-making market in June when it paid pounds 70m for Tarmac's brick operation.Despite the warning, Ibstock announced a tripling of pre-tax profits in the six months to June from pounds 4.4m to pounds 14.0m. The half-time dividend jumped 50 per cent to 0.75p.

Investment column, page 22