Royal Doulton operating loss rises to £11.2m

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The Independent Online

Royal Doulton, the maker of fine china, announced increased interim operating losses yesterday, but said the steep sales decline of last year had been arrested.

Royal Doulton, the maker of fine china, announced increased interim operating losses yesterday, but said the steep sales decline of last year had been arrested.

Hamish Grossart, the chairman, said margins were rising and costs were beginning to fall. "There remains much work to do, but the second half should show further signs of progress towards recovery by 2002," the chairman said.

Royal Doulton, in which Waterford Wedgwood owns a 15 per cent stake, said operating losses in the six months to June rose to £11.2m, compared to £8.7m last year. Pre-tax losses were reduced to £1.3m, helped by the proceeds from June's £16.5m sale of Royal Crown Derby to its management.

Sales in the period were 3 per cent lower at £88m, although margins improved. The company said sales since the end of June were in line with the period last year. However, sales continue to be affected by supply problems from the company's own manufacturing units.

The shares fell 0.5p to 71p.

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