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MJ Gleeson to lay off 70 as housing problems bite

FINANCE

AROUND 70 backroom staff at MJ Gleeson will lose their jobs as the ailing construction group moves its head office from Cheam in Surrey to Fleet in north Hampshire.

Gleeson disclosed the job loss numbers last week, along with a warning of further problems at its housing arm, which is the only business the group intends to keep amid a fire sale of assets.

Gleeson said: 'The move to substantially reduce speculative house building in favour of a much greater emphasis on housing for sale in urban regeneration areas has started.

'Radical change is inevitably disruptive and, in consequence, the greater part of the profit previously to be recognised in this current year ending June 2006 will now be deferred into the next financial year.

'Because of patchy market conditions there has been a reduction in profit margin at some sites.' The firm has completed the sale of infrastructure operation Gleeson MCL to Morgan Sindall for £23.3 million and is in advanced talks for the sale of its concrete repairs division.

Gleeson is also selling its commercial property portfolio and engineering division.