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RJB profits and dividend slashed

RJB, Britain's biggest coal producer, yesterday slashed its dividend and outlined plans to expand into Asia-Pacific. Profits were down 70 per cent last year as coal sales to the electricity industry dropped sharply and prices fell.

Richard Budge, chief executive, said RJB could use its 18 per cent stake in Australia's CIM Resources to increase its presence in the region. Pre-tax profits fell from pounds 171m to pounds 50m as coal sales declined by 17 per cent to 26 million tonnes. The payout was cut from 20p to 7p.