Orb Estates

ORB ESTATES, the former Ossory Estates that was saved from almost certain liquidation three months ago, has announced a small fall in underlying profits in the six months to December, writes Tom Stevenson.

William Higgins, chief executive, said: 'Substantial progress has been made in reorganising the group's affairs. The present upward trend of medium and long-term interest rates is not helpful, but the company has a good story to tell.'

Operating profits from continuing operations fell from pounds 1.77m to pounds 1.62m. After a pounds 10m exceptional credit following a capital reconstruction in December, pre-tax profits were pounds 8.2m compared with a pounds 20m loss in 1992.

Property writedowns were cut from pounds 8.7m to pounds 897,000 and the interest charge fell from pounds 9.9m to pounds 2.5m. As part of the refinancing, a third of the group's pounds 66m debts were either written off or converted into equity.

Mr Higgins said that six properties acquired at the time of the rescue were fully let with rents exceeding financing costs by pounds 250,000 a year. Orb was looking for further acquisitions in the UK.