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Colas to axe 2,400 jobs after heavy losses in central Europe

Roads contractor Colas is to axe 2,400 jobs from its central European operations after announcing a 33% drop in revenue in the first half of 2010.

It is reducing headcount from 7,900 to 5,500 and bringing in a new management team after the region posted an operating loss of €57M (£47M) in the first half of 2010.

Overall, the firm saw turnover fall slightly from £4.2bn in the first half of 2009 to £4.1bn in the first half of this year. But operating margin collapsed from 1.5% to -0.9% over the same period.

But its European operations in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Croatia have fared the worst.

The firm fears the situation could worsen further, and is expecting the cancellation of a major motorway project in Slovakia following 12 months of successive postponements.

Colas is a subsidiary of French construction giant Bouygues. Overall, it reported a turnover of £12.2bn for the first half of 2010, 1% down on the £12.3bn earned in the same period last year.

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