Embattled cidermaker HP Bulmer said interim losses have shot up and that it is to cut its workforce by 200 and shut the plant which makes Bambao and Sidekick PPS’ as part of plans to resurrect the business.

For the half year to October 25 Bulmer posted a pre-tax loss of £34.4m compared with £3.7m last year. Sales rose 9% to £288.6m from £286m.

One-off charges of £31.2m from the company’s exit from its US and South African businesses, plus stock write-offs, higher insurance costs and margin erosion in the “take-home” market all contributed to the losses.

The group also announced that it had sold its Australian division for £22.5m.

Bulmer will now focus on the key brands Strongbow cider and San Miguel lager as apart of its reorganisation process, in the wake of accounting black holes, higher pension costs and increasing competition both at home and overseas.