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LONDON-Michael Holmes has resigned as Chief Executive of the listed commercial and residential agent Chesterton following a dramatic slump in profits. Pre-tax profit for the year to 30 June 2001 was £2.3 million ($3.38 million) down from £5.0 million ($7.35 million) the year previously.

Earnings per share fell to 1.8 pence from 4.0 pence, but the one bright spot was a 4% increase in total fee income to £70.2 million ($103.2 million). The facilities management division was the strongest-performing area of operations, with profit increased from £0.1 million ($147,000) to £1.0 million ($1.47 million).

Chairman Peter Brooks said: ‘This disappointing result mainly reflects weakening market conditions in the last quarter of the year, and in particular the last few weeks,together with losses from the development of the new businesses and from Property Asset Management,where a restructuring plan has already been put in place.’

And Brooks warned that job cuts were likely in the commercial and residential sectors, where fixed costs had been allowed to rise in the expectation of a continued strong market. ‘Given thecontinuing uncertainty over market prospects, aggressive action is being taken in the current year to align our cost base more closely to our income prospects,’ he said.

Chesterton’s share price fell 7 pence to a four-year low of 14.5 pence on the announcement.

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