PROFITS at Baggeridge Brick, the last remaining independent quoted brick group, have virtually halved after the group was hit by a rise in the price of gas and production difficulties.
Baggeridge's pre-tax profits slumped from £1.54 million the previous year to £833,000 in the year ending March. The firm blamed the fall on its inability to pass on an increase in the price of commercial gas.
The firm also suffered from disruption at its factories as it struggled to match increased demand for moulded stock bricks, and fewer orders for wirecut extruded bricks.
However, Baggeridge's turnover rose 11 per cent to £21.2 million. Chairman Alexander Ward said that while the rest of this financial year would be difficult, activity levels had improved in March.
The national stock of bricks fell by 7 per cent in the year to the end of March. As stocks come further into balance, he said it should be possible to improve prices and recover recent cost increases.