Metals group Ash & Lacy revealed the pain of restructuring last week after admitting it had cut 8% of its workforce last year.
The move, which shed 120 jobs through redundancy and natural wastage, followed a price slump in commodity metals.
Ash & Lacy managing director Howard Marshall said steel prices were down 35% and copper had plunged to a 50-year low.
Despite the metal prices slump, Ash & Lacy operating profits fell just 9%, from £11.5m to £10.5m. ‘We are seeing the worst of the price deflation coming to an end, but is has been a very difficult problem to manage,’ Marshall said.
Shareholders will get an increased final dividend, however, of 5.1p, making a total of 8.2p for the year up 6.5%. Marshall said this reflected the stronger balance sheet, good cash flow and a more positive outlook.