The results, on sales up by a third to pounds 131m, reflected a strong contribution from seven businesses acquired from MTM, the troubled chemicals group, for pounds 100m last June. BTP has turned round the two loss-makers in the pack, squeezing an overall operating profit of pounds 2.1m from the purchase. Profits from ongoing businesses improved from pounds 10.3m to pounds 11.8m thanks to higher sales and a slight improvement in margins to 10.6 per cent.
Frank Buckley, chairman, said: 'The emphasis now is to develop the (MTM) businesses to meet the longer-term strategy of BTP.'
Earnings per share climbed 12 per cent to 3.45p, but the interim payout is being improved 6 per cent to 3.45p to bolster dividend cover to two times earnings.
Although trading conditions continue to be tough in Europe, BTP said that its second half would benefit from the 'progressive integration' of the MTM businesses.
The shares rose 6p to 292p.