Shake-up will see BICC change to Balfour Beatty

Richard Halstead
Thursday 19 August 1999 00:02

FORMER INDUSTRIAL heavyweight BICC is set to ditch its 53-year- old name as part of an internal shake-up after the sale of its core cables business.

Instead it will rename itself Balfour Beatty, after its primary construction subsidiary, early next year.

BICC was created in 1946 from the merger of British Insulated Cables and its great rival Callendar's Cables to form a "national champion" to bring electricity and telephone services to postwar Britain.

Once regarded as a bellwether of British industry, BICC has fallen on hard times during the 1990s after a disastrous series of cable business acquisitions.

The company name will join BTR, Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in the corporate history books, though it will be retained as a brand name by General Cable of the US, which bought BICC's energy cables business in April.

The reorganisation will also involve the closing of one of BICC's two London offices with the loss of around 40 jobs.

The moves follow the publication of BICC's worst ever interim trading figures, inflated by provisions related to the disposal of its energy cables business. The company posted a loss before tax of pounds 392m compared with a profit of pounds 46m for the same period last year.

The incoming chief executive Mike Welton said that a final decision had not yet been taken on the company's name. But he said: "We are going to give it serious consideration very soon."

Sources close to the company acknowledged that there was little point retaining a name that now had no relevance to the remaining business. Mr Welton replaces Alan Jones who is departing with a pounds 800,000 pay-off.

Investment, page 19

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