Poor trading at the Malton Foods division of Uniq has been blamed for a cut in the company's dividend from 18p to 12 1/2p. The announcement, when it came yesterday, prompted a fall in share value by 30p to 220p. 

The logistics and chilled foods group, formerly named Unigate, admitted that the news was not the most positive, but added the profits before goodwill, exceptionals and tax would not fall below £60m. Furthermore, it said there are no regrets about the disposal of its milk and cheese arms last year, and for the year coming the demerger of logistics business Wincanton is on track.

The problems at Malton, a pork processor, have largely been caused by the high cost of pig prices in the UK compared to the continent, and the impact of swine fever. Uniq are anxious to stress however that there are no plans in place to sell the business, despite much industry speculation.