T&N to cut global jobs after pounds 388m loss

T&N, the automotive components group, was left reeling from a series of blows yesterday after unveiling plans to axe an expected 2,500 jobs from its worldwide operations alongside a record pounds 388m loss for last year.

It also emerged from Germany that a key 24.9 per cent stake in Kolbenschmidt, a leading German pistons manufacturer which T&N has been stalking for years, had been sold to a private group. T&N shares fell 3p to 156.5p yesterday.

The job cuts came in the wake of competition and "operational inefficiencies" in the group's pistons and brake linings businesses. The group has set aside pounds 15m to cover up to 1,500 redundancies in the current year and expects a further pounds 25m charge in its 1997 figures for what analysts forecast will be a further reduction of 1,000 in the workforce of more than 30,000.

Sir Colin Hope, chairman, said job cuts in the UK would be modest, with continental Europe, which has the biggest cost problem, bearing the brunt of the reduction.

Underlying operating margins at the group slid from 11 per cent to 9.1 per cent last year. Sir Colin said the objective was to get them above 10 per cent again. The headline pre-tax loss, which compares with profits of pounds 120m last time, was in line with expectations following T&N's decision to make a pounds 515m charge to draw a line under its long-running asbestos liabilities.

Sir Colin said he was "relaxed" about the sale of the Kolbenschmidt shares to Rheinmetall, a private automotive components business, despite the fact that they were held under option by Commerzbank on T&N's behalf until the end of December.

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