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17Feb94 UK: HIGH-POINT GETS NOD TO RETAIN RPT.

Consultant High-Point has won the backing of its bankers to retain consulting engineer Rendel Palmer and Tritton.The reprieve ends several months of uncertainty for RPT's 600 staff, after High-Point put the business up for sale last year to cut its debt mountain.The group has been reorganised under a new operating company called High-Point Rendel. Its core business will be shifted away from traditional detailed design engineering towards project and risk management.Another move is to shift towards more profitable international work in the face of fierce price-cutting and declining workloads in the UK.High-Point Projects, the one-stop shop consultancy practice set up a few years ago, is the main casualty of the reorganisation.The firm failed to meet expected work targets because of the group's weak balance sheet.Commenting on the change in business direction, new High-Point chief executive Peter Johnson said: 'Rendel Palmer and Tritton does have a tremendous strategic value in the group. We would have been a very different animal without them.'He explained: 'Pressure to sell RPT came off during the year and we now have the full support of our bankers.'High-Point grew rapidly during the 1980s, financed mainly by bank loans. But the high cost of servicing the loans and the international recession drove up the group's debt.Last year High-Point was forced to spend £2 million on reorganisation and cutting staff. Debts shrank from £18 million to £13 million. CONSTRUCTION NEWS

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