Ship Canal project decision soon

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER Ship Canal, the port and property group, said yesterday it was expecting a decision soon on its planning application to build a large shopping centre complex at Dumplington, Manchester.

A green light for the project would dramatically increase the value of the site. The company said it provided a great opportunity for growth, as did Manchester's bid to host the Olympics.

The group yesterday reported pre-tax profits of pounds 10.5m for 1992, down slightly on the previous year's pounds 10.8m. Robert Hough, chairman, said: 'The company has turned in a solid year which has seen particularly good performance from the port.' Operating profits from the port rose 15.6 per cent to pounds 6m on turnover just 3.5 per cent higher at pounds 20.9m.

He added that the property division's performance was 'reasonable in the circumstances'. Net income declined by slightly more than pounds 1m to pounds 3.6m.

The decision to disband the company's police force led to an exceptional cost of pounds 1.45m in severance pay.

Mr Hough warned that the scheme to modernise the upper reaches of the canal would lead to further job losses that would cost the company about pounds 800,000 in the first half of this year.

Earnings per share fell from 339p to 220p, reflecting a tax charge of pounds 2m against a tax credit of pounds 2.2m last time.

The dividend is maintained at 4.5p and the shares closed unchanged at pounds 13.25.

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