Cashmere company Dawson International Plc on Wednesday posted a first half pre-tax loss of £9.5 million versus £6.1m in the year-ago period and said it had begun a strategic review of all businesses.

The firm said turnover for the six months to June 28 edged up to £24.8m from £24m last year but warned market conditions in all of its business sectors remain tough.

The group also expects pension contributions in the second half of the year to be around £1m higher than last year.

It added borrowing facilities with the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland are being restructured but the overall level is expected to remain unchanged at £20m.

Dawson recently appointed a new export sales director to boost global cashmere yarn sales and while its knitters business widened its operating loss on restructuring costs, market reaction to its first collection has been "very positive".

Chairman Mike Hartley said: "The loss of £9.5m for the first half of 2003 is both disappointing and unacceptable. With the management team, I am conducting a strategic review of all businesses and steps are being taken to address performance shortfalls.

"It is heartening that the two principal shareholders and the banks remain supportive at this time."