Restructure sends Bridon into loss: Shift to focus on marketing pushes company into the red by pounds 22m

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Bridon, the wire and rope maker and distributor, has fallen deeply into the red as the company incurred costs of a restructuring programme.

Ron Petersen, the chief executive, said Bridon had reorganised itself to focus on marketing of products rather than their manufacture.

Most of the restructuring costs were incurred in the wire and wire rope parts of the business. Mr Petersen said Bridon was now organised so that wire and wire rope operated with autonomy to enable them to take full advantage of their different marketplaces.

A third focus for the business is to make and distribute value-added items with wire and rope-based components. Mr Petersen said the manufacturing end of the business was now considered to be a corporate resource centre, rather than a profit centre.

Bridon used management consultants to help formulate the new structure. Mr Petersen said: 'It cost us a couple of hundred thousand pounds but it was probably the best money we have ever spent.'

Exceptional items in the year to 31 December totalled pounds 22.4m. Pre-tax losses were pounds 22.7m compared with a profit of pounds 1.2m last time.

As well as suffering from a raft of restructuring charges Bridon was hit by weakness in demand and increased raw material costs.

Weak demand meant that Bridon was unable to pass raw material price increases on to customers, and underlying operating profits fell from pounds 7.6m to pounds 6.3m. Mr Petersen said the company was not expecting much improvement in markets this year.

Bridon has maintained its dividend at 4p despite recording losses per share of 40p. Disregarding the exceptionals, the payment was also uncovered by earnings per share of 3p. The shares fell 3p to 148p.