Yorkshire cuts 10% of workers: Group embarks on several joint ventures as part of 'continual change'

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The Independent Online
YORKSHIRE Electricity is cutting 550 jobs, reducing the workforce by about 10 per cent. The company said it would not expect such hefty reductions in future years.

Yesterday Yorkshire announced a rise of 15 per cent in the interim dividend to 6.9p, coming in at the lower end of the range of increases announced by the regional electricity companies so far.

John Tysoe, chairman, said: 'The dividend is consistent with the policy we have pursued since privatisation.' Yorkshire's pre-tax profits in the six months to 30 September were up by 22 per cent to pounds 74m and earnings per share rose by 32 per cent to 27.8p. The company said the improvement was largely due to growth in the electricity distribution business and to greater operating efficiency.

The electrical retailing business, now a joint venture with East Midlands Electricity, made a loss in the first half and is unlikely to break into profit by the year end. However, the contracting arm made a contribution at the interim stage.

Yorkshire is investing pounds 40m to break into the telecommunications business. The company has a joint venture with Kingston Communications - the Hull network operator - to build and operate a fibre optic telephone network in its franchise area. The group is also investing in Ionica, the Cambridge-based company, which plans to operate a phone network using radio technology.

Yorkshire has a gas supply joint venture with Total and plans to become a broadly based utility services group.

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