The depressed mining sector had taken its toll on the financial performance of Bell Equipment, the listed manufacturer of heavy equipment for construction and mining said on Tuesday. Earnings a share and headline earnings a share for the six months to June were expected to be at least 70 percent lower than in the previous corresponding period. In the six months to June last year, Bell reported earnings a share of R1.56 and headline earnings a share of R1.53. The company said this expected reduction in earnings was mainly due to a decline in demand from the mining sector, which had had a negative impact on production volumes at its facilities. Bell, which is trading under a cautionary announcement believed to be related to negotiations around a new empowerment deal, said a further trading statement for the period would be issued once more certainty existed. Bell is expected to release its interim results in August. The shares plummeted after the late afternoon update and closed 19.41 percent lower at R15.15. – Roy Cokayne