Ocean to shed 500 jobs

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OCEAN, the freight, environmental and marine group, is to shed 500 jobs from its total workforce of 11,000.

Shares in Ocean jumped 15p to 265p after Nicholas Barber, the chief executive, said the cuts would be spread around the company's operations in 40 countries and in all three divisions. About half the cuts would be made in the United Kingdom.

The programme is expected to cost about pounds 8m in redundancy payments. In keeping with new accounting regulations, this will be taken as an exceptional charge when profits are announced for the year to December.

In a full year Mr Barber expected the cuts to save at least that much, although he said the full benefit would not be felt until 1994. Cost savings in 1993 were expected to be more than pounds 5m.

Most of the jobs were being cut from divisional head offices in an attempt to shorten lines of communication. The move is part of a management review begun two years ago.

On current trading, Mr Barber said that he expected no real recovery although he had 'seen the odd green shoots, especially in the US'.

In the half-year to June pre-tax profits fell 10 per cent to pounds 20.8m ( pounds 23.2m).