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30Aug91 UK: INTERIM PRETAX LOSS OF £3.5M AT TRENCHERWOOD IS FOLLOWED BY DEPARTURE OF MANAGING DIRECTOR.

Brian Eighteen, managing director of Trencherwood, has left the Berkshire-based house builder's board, following the announcement of a pre-tax loss of £3.5 million for the half ending April (1990: £3.8 million loss).Chairman John Norgate said Mr Eighteen 'relinquished his position' in line with the group's 'on-going policy of overhead control.'According to the group's 1990 annual report, one employee other than the chairman received £105,000 - 110,000. Mr Eighteen is remaining with the group as a consultant.Mr Norgate, who become chairman and managing director, saw small signs of encouragement.Operating loss fell to £77,000 from £617,000 but interest payable leapt to £3.7 million from £1.3 million.Fear of unemployment had dampened the market, particularly among first-time buyers. Trencherwood sold 137 units during the half and has sold 83 since June with 53 reservations. The company says it has recently detected renewed interest in the residential land market.On commercial property, the company sees a change of sentiment towards property investment but this has not translated into increased activity. The group's commercial property investment, worth £40 million was continuing to be reduced. During the half it had sold properties worth £700,000 and let 8,400 sq m of space.Mr Norgate added that commercial values in late 1991 would begin to show signs of stability.