Seeboard axe poised over more jobs

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The Independent Online
SEEBOARD, the regional electricity group, is aiming to shed 500 to 600 more jobs this year as part of a cost- cutting drive, writes Terence Wilkinson.

News of the cuts accompanied full- year results showing a 14.5 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 112.7m.

Dividends are to go up by 15.9 per cent, the largest rise yet in the electricity reporting season. As with other companies, Seeboard has linked the payout with plans for price cuts - an average 3.3 per cent reduction for its customers from September.

About 400 jobs will go from the head office at Hove, East Sussex. Last year Seeboard cut its workforce by 390 to 5,861, saving pounds 5m from its pay costs. In April it announced a new organisational structure that introduced business 'streaming' to increase accountability.

A new, smaller head office is being built near Crawley, West Sussex, and is due to be completed by mid-1994.

Profits from distribution were slightly ahead at pounds 91.9m, with the impetus to profits growth coming from high voltage supply, where profits rose from pounds 4.3m to pounds 13.3m.

Action taken to restructure retailing and contracting put them both into profit.

The final dividend is 14.3p for a 20p total against 17.25p. The shares rose 10p to 520p.