The beleaguered UK cider group, HP Bulmer, has announced that it is to cut 200 jobs. The company reported a £1.8m loss before tax and exceptionals yesterday and warned that it expected the slowdown to continue into the New Year.

The 200 job cuts, representing almost 20% of the company's workforce, form part of the restructuring plan developed by rescue specialist, John Darlington. Bulmer's new CEO, Miles Templeman, joins the company on January 1.

The company said the object of the turnaround plan was to simplify the business by concentrating its efforts and resources on Strongbow and San Miguel lager. The plan includes rationalising the company's international activities and to this end Bulmer also announced yesterday the sale of its Australian operations to Foster's for £22.5m.