Consignia Loses $140 Million for Half-Year Period

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Consignia, the British post office, announced an operating loss yesterday of 100 million pounds, or about $141.2 million U.S. dollars, for the 26 weeks that ended Sept. 23, compared with a loss of 20 million pounds for the same period a year ago.

Consignia chairman Neville Bain said the figures underlined the urgency behind the company's recent announcement that it was seeking savings of 1.2 billion pounds, or about $1.7 billion, by April 2003, equivalent to a 15 percent reduction in its cost base.

Structural changes also are urgently needed for Consignia's parcel shipping division, Parcelforce Worldwide, because its cash consumption is expected to approach 200 million pounds by the end of this year, he said.

Bain also said the second-half-year performance, which includes Christmas mail volumes, was traditionally better than in the first six months.

"But with a potential economic downturn in prospect, making any profit at year-end -- even before exceptional items -- will be challenging," he said.

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