Operating results nudge down at Kunick

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The Independent Online
KUNICK, the fruit machine operator, is still experiencing hard times, reporting operating profits down 9 per cent at pounds 2.7m for the half-year to 31 March, writes Robert Cole.

The pre-tax figures showed an improvement with a loss of pounds 1.8m last time turned into a profit of pounds 2.1m. However, this reflected a restructuring at the company that lightened interest costs and the absence of the pounds 6.2m taken as an exceptional charge in the previous year's figures. Turnover rose slightly to pounds 49.3m.

Kunick has hived off its nursing homes business in order to shore up its ailing balance sheet. Half the division, renamed Goldsborough, was sold to Natwest Ventures and the joint venture is planning a public flotation sometime in the next year. Goldsborough's profit contribution was pounds 445,000.

Kunick sold the London Dungeon, the horror museum, in March 1992, but still owns a similar operation in Paris, which lost pounds 200,000, down from pounds 400,000.

Most of the trading profits were earned in the amusement machine business. But Russell Smith, group chief executive with special responsibility for games machines, said that trading remained erratic and patchy.

Kunick had to dip into reserves to pay the preference share dividends but there was no interim dividend for ordinary shareholders. Losses per share were reduced to 0.26p from 1.9p.