TDG hit by 12m pounds charge

THE COSTS of closing Transport Development Group's French operations battered interim profits at the transport and distribution group. The pre-tax figure fell from pounds 16.8m to pounds 3.5m after an exceptional charge of pounds 12.4m, writes John Murray.

Losses had mounted at Translittoral, TDG's French long-distance trucking business, to the point where the group sold parts of it and junked the rest in June.

Martin Llowarch, chairman, said Translittoral had suffered most from the recession on the Continent and was pessimistic about the prospects for recovery. But he pointed out that UK operating profits were 9 per cent higher. 'But that was because the UK businesses benefited from restructuring over the past few years - we're not getting any help from the economy.'

He stressed that the group had come through the recession with a strong balance sheet - borrowings are just 17.5 per cent of shareholders' funds.

The interim dividend is maintained at 3p. The market had been expecting the exceptional charge and the shares eased 2p to 267p.

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