• First-half pre-tax losses narrow
  • Swings to H1 operating profit
  • Possible re-capitalisation mooted

Shares in Uniq rose this morning (22 July) after the UK convenience group reported smaller half-year losses and said it was holding talks with pension trustees and regulators over its pension deficit.

The company's stock was up 2.5% at 10.25p at 10:34 BST this morning in the wake of its figures for the six months to the end of June.

The recovery in Uniq's share price came after its stock tumbled on Monday after the company revealed its proposals to pay off its pension deficit had been rejected by the UK pensions regulator.

Uniq, which faces a pension deficit of GBP436m (US$666.5m), is in talks with its pension trustees over how to find a settlement for the scheme.

The food-to-go and dessert maker said that if a "long-term funding solution cannot be found" the two sides will "seek alternatives including a possible re-capitalisation of the company".

Uniq added: "The company believes that in these circumstances a re-capitalisation will protect the value of the trading businesses and is likely to be in the best interests of all stakeholders."

The food group's half-year numbers showed signs of progress at the company. Uniq posted a pre-tax loss from continuing operations of GBP6m, down from GBP12.8m a year earlier.

Uniq made an operating profit before significant items of GBP1m, against an operating loss of GBP3.7m a year earlier.

Revenue from continuing operations increased 7.3% to GBP156.3m.

"The strategic decision to focus on the UK is delivering the expected benefits in terms of higher sales growth and profits," said Uniq chief executive Geoff Eaton.

"We are successfully building the quality and value of the business in parallel with seeking a satisfactory outcome for the pension scheme."