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Aga cooker firm profits fall 47%

14 March 09 12:24 GMT

The makers of the cast iron Aga cooker have announced a 47% fall in profits, citing worsening trading conditions.

Aga Rangemaster, which has a factory in Warwickshire and headquarters in Shropshire, reported profits of £14.4m in 2008 and a 20% fall in new orders.

It said revenues had also dropped 4.2% to £279.4m. It has axed its full-year dividend and cut about 470 jobs.

Chief executive William McGrath said its balance sheet was strong and it was "well positioned" for hard times.

Cooker sales

He added: "The current markets are the least encouraging for many years but we are ready to take on these challenges and expect to become stronger with improved market shares."

Aga has reduced its headcount from 3,169 to less than 2,700 in the past year, and has reached agreements with staff and unions to introduce shorter working hours.

The group makes its flagship Aga ovens at Coalbrookdale factory near Telford, in Shropshire, and its Rangemaster factory is based at Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire.

The 300-year-old company said although overall cooker sales were lower last year, its wood burning stoves and Rayburn cookers had performed well.

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