Shandwick back in black but passes final dividend

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The Independent Online
SHANDWICK, the ailing public relations group, has passed its final dividend despite returning to the black, writes Neil Thapar.

The company yesterday reported taxable profits of pounds 2m for the year to 31 October, compared with a pounds 1.4m loss in the previous 15 months.

Shandwick, which was forced into a pounds 65m bank refinacing last year, said it could not pay a dividend because trading conditions remained difficult.

The results reflected a fall in exceptional charges from pounds 9.3m to pounds 3.9m thanks to the absence of any further provisions for redundancies and restructuring.

However, last year's exceptional items included the pounds 3.1m cost of a bank refinancing. The balance was a provision against loans to an employee share ownership plan.

Interest charges rose from pounds 6m to pounds 6.5m due to a jump in group debt from pounds 49m to pounds 65m caused by currency factors and payments for past acquisitions.

There was an extraordinary loss of pounds 4.5m on the disposal of some non-core businesses.