- Forterra is to temporarily mothball brick factories in Lancashire as it assesses demand.

Forterra - a leading producer of manufactured masonry products - says that overall the profit for the first half ended 30 June was in line with management's expectations at the time of the IPO in April and, as anticipated, brick sales volumes were weighted towards house builders.

Sales to the builders' merchants have been affected by excess inventory continuing to be held by the merchant sector. The Group continued to generate a strong level of operating cash flow and net debt at the end of June was around £20m better than expectations.

The group says that given current economic uncertainty and sufficient brick inventory levels, the board has reviewed the current production plan and has decided to maximise the utilisation of its most efficient brick plants and effectively manage its cost base. The company says it will enter into consultation with employees at its brick factories in Accrington and Claughton, in Lancashire, proposing to temporarily mothball the plants.

It adds: "This is a prudent action that will allow us to continue to meet customers' needs while effectively managing our costs and cash position until we are able to more effectively forecast demand. Both of these brick plants were mothballed between 2010 and 2014 and the Company has demonstrated its capability to successfully bring production back online in a short period of time. Forterra has sufficient brick inventory and production capacity to service customer demand should housing output continue to grow as previously expected.

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