Jones & Shipman shake-up cuts half-time loss to 1m pounds

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A DRASTIC restructuring has halved losses per share to 8.2p (17.7p) at Jones & Shipman, one of the few machine tool companies still listed on the stock market, writes John Murray.

The group yesterday disclosed losses of just under pounds 1m before tax for the six months to 30 September, against pounds 2.5m last time. Turnover remained above pounds 6m despite cuts that saw the workforce reduced from more than 500 to 372 during the half year.

Len Weaver, chairman, said the figures demonstrated progress by a new management team. 'Trading in the UK is still flat, but our new business strategy has yielded improvements in our operating performance.'

He added that the losses would be further reduced in the second half, but that the extent of the turnaround depended on how quickly demand revived. 'Although orders on hand are higher, the immediate outlook remains uncertain and frustrating.'

The group had agreed to sell its engineering small tools business for 'about pounds 1m', he said.

Jones and Shipman shares closed unchanged at 17p.