- Engineering group Melrose Industries has posted a pre-tax loss for the first half of 2020 and announced a 'significant reduction' in its GKN Aerospace workforce in the second half following a decline in sales.

The group said that the 'numerous challenges' presented by the global outbreak of COVID-19 were reflected in its results for the six months ended 30 June 2020, in which statutory revenue for the group was £4.1bn, down from £5.6bn in the same period a year earlier.

It announced a statutory pre-tax loss of £685m and an adjusted pre-tax loss of £40m.

Sales in aerospace were down 18% in the period and the company said that consultations are already 'well underway with employees and unions worldwide' and that 'regrettably a significant reduction in the worldwide workforce is inevitable' in the second half of the year.

The group made an adjusted operating profit of £56m in the period and reported a statutory operating loss of £581m.

Melrose Industries said that trading over the summer months has been 'at the higher end' of the board's expectations, particularly in automotive and key Nortek markets, with Nortek Air Management's performance less impacted by COVID-19, resulting in sales in July and August up 13% on last year.

Chairman Justin Dowley said: 'These are extraordinary times which we have addressed with rigorous cash management and decisive restructuring actions; recently, and encouragingly, we have started to see trading improving in some key end markets.

'Crucially, we own good businesses with significant improvement opportunities and have an experienced management team with an excellent track record.'

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