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22Oct92 UK: BARCOM REELS FROM PITS BLOW.

Shares in Barcom, whose plant hire subsidiary NPT shifts coal at power stations and collieries, dropped 20 per cent last week on news of the massive pit closure programme.The shares fell 19p to 71p over the two days of the announcement and, despite industry secretary Michael Heseltine's statements to the House of Commons, fell a further 1p on Monday.Chief executive Brian Thompson said: 'When we made the acquisition of NPT we were always aware of the closure of pits, but I have to admit that some of these pits are closing rather earlier than we thought they would do.'But there is no wholesale walk away from the stock. The fall in share price is a knee-jerk reaction.'Barcom bought NPT and its plant fleet of more than 600 machines earlier this year. Barcom was previously known as Venture Plant, but the company changed name after the NPT purchase.So far British Coal has not returned any plant and Mr Thompson expects NPT will keep working at closed pits.He said: 'We don't know what closure means because we are already working on a number of pits which are effectively closed.'But Mr Thompson expects that NPT's turnover will fall as demand from British Coal will inevitably decrease. He plans to axe cross hires rather than sell machines.He said: 'We will shuffle equipment from pit to pit and run down cross hires which are hardly profitable to us at all.'Barcom's hire business outside of British Coal continues to develop with the award earlier this month of the contract to provide kit for coal moving at Thorp Marsh power station.Mr Thompson said: 'With a few of those we will make up the shortfall.'