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Galliford boss left with £500k

FORMER Galliford Try deputy chief executive George Marsh received a £500,000 pay-off after his sudden departure last year.

The group confirmed this week that Mr Marsh, who ran the group's construction division, received the windfall following his resignation in November.

Mr Marsh had spent 24 years with Galliford before overseeing the merger with Try Construction in 2000. He had been tipped to take over as group chief executive from David Calverly this June.

But his resignation was thought to be linked to the board's disappointment with the recovery of the troubled construction division.

The announcement comes as Galliford Try unveiled a virtual halving in pre-tax profits to £3.6 million for the six months to December 31 on turnover of £298 million.

The profit drop follows a £2 million restructuring charge in the construction division which, along with several problem contracts, contributed to a £3.5 million loss on turnover of £226 million - down 9 per cent.

David Calverley, group chief executive, said: 'We have closed down the traditional building contracts that contributed to the disappointing performance. We have also departed from bidding for contracts secured on a price competition basis and terminated unprofitable contracts in our maintenance division.'

A further £2 million is to be charged as an exceptional in the second half as part of the group's restructure.

Mr Calverley said 20 jobs had been lost at Try Accord and the maintenance arm would be more selective in its bidding for work.

Stockbroker Teather & Greenwood has predicted that Galliford Try could be subject to a takeover bid after issuing a break-up valuation of the company at 40p a share.

David Taylor, an analyst at T&G, said: 'Share ratings are extremely low and shareholders are profoundly fed up. Either the management get the business in order quickly or a takeover could happen.'

Mr Calverley said the firm had not been approached and the board would not be interested in any offers.

He also confirmed that legal action had begun to recoup some of the £6.5 million the firm lost on its troubled £8.4 million distribution centre in Northampton.

The building was delivered 15 months late to Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal because of a defective floor slab.