28% rise at Watts Blake

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The Independent Online
WATTS Blake Bearne, the clay producer whose three main shareholders are seeking a buyer for their 45 per cent stake, yesterday reported a 28 per cent increase in profits. The company also announced a revaluation of its minerals reserves, which boosted net assets by a quarter, writes Heather Connon.

John Pike, managing director, said he had no further information on the sale, announced in January. He had been visiting other large shareholders - including M&G, Scottish Amicable and Prudential - but refused to comment on whether it was also talking to trade buyers.

Pre-tax profit in 1992 was pounds 7.3m, up from pounds 5.7m, helped by acquisitions. The group is the largest producer of ball clay for toilets, tiles and china. It has added pounds 15.9m to its reserves in the first revaluation since 1980.

Earnings per share were 22 per cent higher at 23.1p and the dividend is raised from 9.3p to 10.7p after an 8p final.