1st Dental to get teeth into turnaround

DENTAL products company 1st Dental said it is committed to creating a sustainable turnaround after plunging to a £4.1m annual loss.

The Harrogate-based firm, which supplies bridges and crowns to dentists from 14 laboratories, is trying to rebuild after two years of poor performance after its acquisition of Benchmark.

1st Dental yesterday said it had to take a 3.25m goodwill impairment last year on laboratories associated to the acquisition in 2005.

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However, sales grew five per cent in the year to the end of November to 10.6m, thanks to a new sales team.

On an underlying basis, before exceptional items, the firm made a 359,000 loss, compared with 203,000 profit a year earlier.

Chairman Grahame Sewell said the firm's operational performance was "patchy", but trading since the year end has been "satisfactory" despite heavy snowfall hitting reven- ues.

He said 1st Dental will focus on investment in its new sales team, and better integration of its laboratories.

"Our priority is to manage a turnaround which can be sustainable and is not just a quick fix," said Mr Sewell.

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