Simon warns of more provisions

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The Independent Online
SIMON Engineering, which makes access equipment including fire rescue gear, yesterday warned of further small provisions for the closure or run-down of loss-making businesses.

The company, which is undergoing a large-scale restructuring following losses of pounds 160m announced in March, has failed to find buyers for some divisions on its disposal list.

Maurice Dixson, chief executive, would not put a figure on the provisions, but said they would be limited and nothing like the pounds 110m charge Simon made in March. Analysts said the additional provisions were not serious. The shares dipped 1p to 125p.

Mr Dixson said Simon's disposal programme and property sales were on target, raising pounds 20m to date, helped by the upturn in the property market. The company expects to raise about pounds 40m by the end of the year.

At Simon's annual meeting yesterday, Michael Davies, chairman, announced that the company was moving its headquarters from Stockport, where 40 people are employed, to London.

The move is part of a reorganisation designed to cut debt and concentrate on three core markets: the access division, the storage division and process engineering.

Restructuring of the European operations will be completed in July, when the benefits of a much lower cost base will start to come through, Mr Davies said.

In the US, following management changes, Simon Aerials has returned to profit in the first half, although Simon Petroleum Technology is expected to make operating losses.

Mr Davies said the full benefit of restructuring the group would come through to shareholders in 1995.

Sir Philip Foreman, a non-executive director, did not seek reelection to the board.

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