Profits plunge at Lupus after veteran Hutchings makes exit

INDUSTRIAL buy-out group Lupus Capital, which ousted its entrepreneur chairman Greg Hutchings in July, yesterday scrapped its interim dividend after the economic turbulence caused profits to plunge.<br /><br />Lupus reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of &pound;7.5m for the six months to June, 48 per cent below the &pound;14.5m it recorded over the same period in 2008.<br />Revenue fell 14.6 per cent to &pound;117m at the firm, which recently renegotiated its banking facilities.<br /><br />Michael Jackson, who replaced Hutchings as chairman, warned that market conditions remain difficult, though he said the firm is &ldquo;seeing early benefits from the recent decisive management actions&rdquo;.<br /><br />But the firm refused to comment on speculation that Hutchings may be mulling an attempt to return to the board at Lupus after upping his stake recently to almost 11 per cent, a move which means he is now able to call an extraordinary meeting.<br /><br />Hutchings cut his teeth at engineering conglomerate Tomkins, which he led over a 17-year period until he left in 2001, dogged by controversy over his management style.<br /><br />He joined Lupus as executive chairman in 2004, but left following the group&rsquo;s recent struggle with its dependence on the beleaguered housing market.