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Worthington Nicholls culls workforce

ONE third of Worthington Nicholls' staff have lost their jobs after the air-conditioning installer suffered a one million pound operating loss.
One hundred people have been made redundant since last December, mostly at the group's Wilmslow headquarters.

Job cuts were just one of many cost-cutting moves made by the troubled group.These included office closures, the halting of all overseas activity and the scrutiny and scrapping all contracts that the group considers 'commercially unviable'.

The group's actions come after it suffered a £1 million pound operating loss for the quarter ended December 31.

The new board, Simon Beart, William Good and Rodney Mann were appointed on November 21, 2007. Its review of all trading units noted poor standards of budgeting, forecasting, contract management and cash-flow management across the group.

In its trading statement on February 1, the board said 'since the group's profit warning on August 17, 2007, no effective management action had been taken to resolve contractual uncertainties with customers nor any meaningful attempt made to implement a rationalisation programme to reduce trading losses'.

Cost-saving plans include the closure of several of the group's 14 offices. A loss-making subsidiary has also been sold, realising some £50,000. The group is also placing new restrictions on all new contracts.

The board stated 'The resultant closure costs, which will include redundancies, surplus property costs, stock write downs and losses on vehicle fleet disposal are estimated to be approximately £1m

'New business enquiries and market activity in the specialist hotel market remain reasonable and the group continues to participate in bidding for a small number of substantial contracts'.

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