Walker loses £1.7m after profit warning

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The Independent Online

JO Walker, the midland based timber merchant, made a £1.17m loss for the year to the end of December, in line with expectations following a profit warning in April. The company made £61,000 in 1993.

Three of the company's previous management will share £330,000 for loss of office following changes late last year. These include two Walker family members, who sold their 25 per cent stake last December.

The company said the poor performance was due to stock control difficulties encountered by new management when they took over at the end of 1994.

Adam Page, chairman, said the loss was the biggest in the company's history. He said: "In my view, this is largely attributable to the failure of the former senior directors to address the endemic problems which beset the company.

"In recent years there has been an almost complete absence of effective management accounting and lack of financial control despite substantial investment in new systems."

Mr Page said the company was fundamentally sound. "This absence of direction was particularly unfortunate as the underlying and inherent strengths of the business remain undiminished.

"We have a very good blue-chip customer base. The structural changes implemented by the new board would give the company effective financial controls, a real sense of purpose and direction and profitability will be quickly restored.

"The restoration of a dividend payment would be an urgent priority," Mr Page added.

Turnover was £16m, up from £14.2m in the previous year. No dividend will be paid again this year. The loss per share is 147p, compared with a profit per share of 7.7p