Trifast's shares fall on profit warning

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The Independent Online

Trifast shares plummeted yesterday after it issued its second profit warning in recent months and parted company with its chief executive.

The company, which manufactures and distributes low-cost, high-volume industrial components such as fasteners, said continued poor trading conditions in the US and Western Europe had affected sales.

Following an earnings alert in November, Trifast said that December and January had been disappointing. It said that although sales had stabilised, there had been losses in the UK business caused by excess capacity and lack of throughput and Trifast's "aggressive" stock write-down policy.

The company makes fasteners for products such as mobile phones, computers and washing machines. Trifast said that profits for the second half of the year would be around half the £1.3m reported for the first half.

The company added: "The directors believe that there is scope for further rationalisation which, combined with tangible opportunities that exist for the group, should achieve a much-improved trading performance in the 2003 financial year."

Trifast announced that Malcolm Diamond, chief executive, is to retire after 18 years at the helm. He will step down on 31 March and be replaced by Jim Barker, who is on the board. "He [Mr Diamond] has been the principal driver of its strategic development taking the group public in 1994 and building on the UK base with sales of around £30m at that time, to an international operation today achieving sales in excess of £100m," it said. Trifast shares closed down 27 per cent at 82p.

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