Dutch group to axe 275 jobs in UK arm Ballast as it recovers from £32m loss in first half 2002.
The UK arm of Dutch group Ballast Nedam has reorganised its management team and regional structure as the contractor looks to complete its recovery from a disastrous 2002.

Ballast has gradually restructured since posting a loss of £32m in the first half of last year, and has reduced this deficit to £9.7m in this year's interims. The latest moves are designed to bring the company in the black, and will result in the loss of 275 jobs.

Current managing director Phillip Cooper will become managing director of the services decision. Chairman Ruud Jacobs will takeover as managing director of the UK arm.

Jacobs said: "Under Phillip Cooper's expert watch, we will continue to enhance and build the service division's strength. We will focus on partnering and negotiated projects specialising in contracts with high added value for the public and private market."

Ballast will form a new regional base covering the North and North-west to bolster its construction market coverage, following the restructuring of its southern offices earlier this year. Jacobs said: "One of my first tasks is to work with the board and regional managing directors to implement further streamlining. This final stage will focus on the construction division to bring its performance in line with the rest of Ballast Nedam."

After two loss-making years, the Dutch parent finally turned a profit in its interim results, announced yesterday. It made a profit of £2.1m, following the shedding of 880 jobs in the past year. Turnover decreased £122m to £562m.

In its results' statement, the board of Ballast said of the improved performance: "The reorganisation [of the Dutch parent] is taking place under increasingly difficult market circumstances in the Dutch home market. Nonetheless the Dutch construction divisions have realised higher results in the first half-year."

The company declined to comment on the future of the UK arm. Ballast has been up for sale for more than a year.