Pochin ‘close to concrete sale’

Cheshire-based contractor and developer Pochin said it remains in talks with an unnamed party to sell its loss-making concrete pumping business, with a sale due to be completed soon.

Reporting its half-year results for the six months to December, Pochin said in a statement to the stock exchange: "The decision to dispose of the loss making concrete pumping business was announced with the results for the year ending 31 May 2011. This division, whose activities are now classified as discontinued, have benefited from improved cost control and operational efficiencies, and a reasonably mild winter, with the result that the level of ongoing losses has been contained, albeit with additional provision made for costs of disposal. Meanwhile the disposal process is at an advanced stage, with completion expected shortly."

The results for the six months ended 30 November 2011 show a profit after tax from continuing activities of £0.485m (2010: £0.027m) and a loss from discontinued activities of £0.817m (2010: £0.516m loss), which combine in an overall loss for the period of £0.332m (2010: £0.489m loss). Revenue for the period from continuing activities was £30.722m; the comparable figure for 2010 was £37.035m, which included a c£11m property disposal. No interim dividend is proposed.

Pochin said the construction division 'performed well in testing market conditions with improved results compared to the corresponding period last year'.

The development and investment portfolio showed strong rental income but poor development land values, which continue to 'inhibit the group's planned disposals of non-core assets.'

Shares in Pochin were down 6.5p at 31p by 11am on Tuesday.

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