Losses cut at Havelock; Shell; Vodafone

David RitchieMon:  Shop and office fitter Havelock Europa, currently undergoing a redundancy programme at its Kirkcaldy headquarters, has announced marginally reduced half year losses.

The loss before tax is down from £1.9 million to £1.8m which was achieved on turnover which fell from £30.5m to £28.9m which it said reflected subdued demand in the retail and financial services sectors.

Group net debt increased from £2.6m (June 2014) to £3.1m due to an £800,000 increase in finance lease obligations.

The pension deficit, before deferred tax, has fallen from £3.7m to £2.4m. However, it said this position remains volatile.

The company said international retail sales are on target to achieve expected growth and the business reorganisation project is on track and will be fully implemented by end the year.

It is on target to achieve annualised cost savings of £3m for 2016.

David Ritchie, chief executive, said: “Whilst the short term trading outlook is challenging I am confident that the business reorganisation plan announced on 1 September 2015 will enable the business to deliver sustainable profits in the future.”

Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned its search for oil in the Arctic after failing to find enough crude. The will appease environmental campaigners and shareholders who said its project was too expensive and risky.

Shell has spent about $7 billion (£4.6 billion) on exploration in the waters off Alaska so far and said it could take a hit of up to $4.1 billion for pulling out of the Chukchi Sea for the “foreseeable future”.

The market was down on lower miners and Vodafone ending talks with Liberty Global.

The FTSE 100 index was down 150 points to 5,959 at the close.

Vodafone took a hit after tie-up talks with Liberty Global had collapsed because they could not agree on the value of their businesses. Vodafone shares were down 3.7%, its lowest level in 10 months.

Brewer SABMiller fared better, with shares touching fresh six-month highs, up 2.8% on reports that ABInBev is close to launching a bid.


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