View from City Road: Lucas chief has a following wind

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The Independent Online
Kitchen sink exercises seem to be positively compulsory for a new chief executive these days, so it was no surprise to see George Simpson engaging in the ritual nettle-grabbing as he announced his first set of figures at Lucas Industries yesterday.

Heavy provisioning, a held dividend and the absence of a much- touted cash call on shareholders was exactly what the market wanted to hear from a man who earnt quite a City following in reviving the fortunes of Rover.

Cost-cutting, factory closures and streamlining of retained manufacturing capacity provide a headline-making platform for recovery. Actual relaunch will depend on culture change within the organisation and, even for Mr Simpson, that will not be easy. For the moment, however, he seems to have a following wind.

The key automotive market for Lucas seems to be turning his way, not least in the US, where Mr Simpson says: 'Things are going like gang- busters.'

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