Redundancies announced in downbeat trading statement

M&E contractor T Clarke is to close or sell two of its regional businesses as a result of a strategic review. The group does not expect to meet current market expectations for the year.

T Clarke is undertaking a restructuring programme which is expected to lead to the closure or disposal of two of the Group’s smaller regional businesses. The company is also extending its cost reduction process with an undisclosed number of redundancies across the Group. The company has made provisions for bad debts and is looking at future credit risk. The costs of these initiatives will be mostly recognised in the first half results.

As part of the restructuring programme, Barry DeFalco, managing director of UK regional operations is to leave the company on 30 September 2009.

London region managing director Mark Lawrence will take over as chief executive on 1 January 2010 when Pat Stanborough retires.

The trading statement says that the Group’s businesses continue to trade positively with key regional operations in Scotland, Newcastle, Leeds and Derby said to be trading well. The Group’s order book currently stands at £170 million.

T Clarke has cash balances of £24 million as at 30 June 2009. It is currently the board’s intention to maintain the dividend at last year’s level. The directors are also considering a share buy-back scheme.

Despite the difficult market conditions, the board remains confident that the group will come through the current turbulent trading environment and that the underlying business is strong.

T Clarke's share price dropped 7% this morning following the trading statement. The group's interim results for the six months to 30 June 2009 will be announced on Friday 21 August 2009.