The troubles at the beleaguered UK cider group, HP Bulmer, deepened as it announced that its finance director, Alan Flockhart, is to leave the company. The company said Flockhart would be leaving his post but did not give a date for his departure.

Bulmer also revealed that the previously undisclosed promotional costs, the announcement of which has been the prime cause of its recent woes, in fact amounted to £3.8m, above the previously announced estimate of £3.3m. The company said this would reduce pre-tax profits by £0.9m for the year to April 26, 2002. The remaining £2.9m related to previous years.

Bulmers recent troubles began earlier in September with the disclosure of the extra costs and the cancellation of its final 12.6p dividend. Soon after, as Bulmer's share price plummeted, the company's CEO, Mike Hughes, resigned.

The company's share price was down a further 5.3% on Monday morning at £2.06, compared with £4.32 in January.

"With the resignation of CEO Mike Hughes and the departure of Alan Flockhart (with immediate effect), we believe that there is considerable uncertainty about the group's future strategic direction and the 2003 estimates," said Stuart Price, beverage analyst with WestLB Panmure.

"It is clear that the new management must conduct an urgent review of the internationalisation strategy, especially the continuing loss making US investments...  Undoubtedly, this will result in further exceptional items and means that there is a significant threat to the 2003 dividend."