Mosaic affected by reduced margins

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The Independent Online
PROFITS have collapsed at Mosaic Investments, the mini-conglomerate built up in the Eighties via dozens of acquisitions, writes John Shepherd.

Its diverse interests span automotive products and the merchandising of cartoon characters such as the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.

The company, whose shares have been suspended since last September, yesterday reported pre-tax profits of pounds 207,000 for the half-year to 31 October against the pounds 3.2m made in the corresponding period last year.

The company said that while in some cases volumes held up reasonably well, margins suffered in most companies within the group.

Its marketing services companies were very seriously affected, with profits tumbling from pounds 679,000 to pounds 52,000. Profits elsewhere fell from pounds 832,000 to pounds 348,000 in display products, and from pounds 705,000 to pounds 465,000 in packaging consumables.

Dealings in the shares, suspended at 60p, are unlikely to recommence before May.

Beside the results, the company said it had agreed new banking facilities, the details of which it did not disclose.

It has, however, still to resolve an outstanding issue with Rodney Day, who sold his artists' impressions company to Mosaic in 1988 for pounds 3.8m.

Mr Day holds the key to the relisting of Mosaic's shares. It was the company's inability last September to redeem nearly pounds 3m of preference stock that led to the suspension. Negotiations with Mr Day are continuing.

Mosaic wrote off pounds 2.8m after tax on the disposal of its engineering and automotive division, which left a retained loss of nearly pounds 3m.