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THE COST of introducing a new model of London taxi depressed profits at Manganese Bronze, the cab manufacturer said yesterday. The group, which also makes a range of metal powders and components, said pre-tax profits of pounds 1.4m for the six months to 31 January included an exceptional cost of pounds 2.5m for introducing the TX1 (pictured above, being modelled by Glenda Jackson, the Transport Minister). The group made pounds 4.1m in the same period a year ago.

Jamie Borwick, the chief executive, said: `The launch of our new taxi was by far the biggest event in our recent history. The market reception has exceeded all our expectations and we are now producing the TX1 at a higher rate than we have ever made taxis before.'

Hugh Lang said the disruption caused by the launch of the TX1 meant profits for the full year would be lower than achieved in the previous 12-month period. Shares in the company slipped on the profits warning, ending the day at 406p, down 6.5p.

The company is paying an interim dividend of 4p, up from 3.5p previously.