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Acquisitions lift Sherwood despite lace problems

SHERWOOD, the lace maker, has pushed its pre-tax profits up by a quarter, helped by acquisitions and greater success in selling finished garments.

Taxable profits at the Nottingham-based group rose to pounds 8.2m for the six months to 30 June from pounds 6.5m last time. Part of the growth came from the purchase of two sock makers, Samuel Eden and Charles Hall. But like-for- like sales in the garment division also increased by 16 per cent.

However, Sherwood's lace division - for which it is best known - held back the group's advance. Sales of lace fell 10 per cent and operating profits fell 14 per cent as demand for fancy goods declined worldwide. The company said lace sold in bulk suffered as customers forced prices down.

David Parker, chairman, said the group wanted to concentrate on the production of high-quality product.

He said that trading in the second half was strong. Sherwood has spent pounds 8m on new lace making machinery that Mr Parker said would give the company competitive advantages in lace production.

Earnings per share stood still at 5.3p because shares were issued to make the acquisitions. The dividend is lifted to 0.9p from 0.75p.