Acquisitive Ross adds two more businesses

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ROSS GROUP, the small but acquisitive electronics and packaging company, has added two more businesses to its diverse portfolio, writes Tom Stevenson.

Henley Carriage Clocks, which cost 'less than pounds 100,000', will be integrated with Metamec, Ross's existing clock manufacturer, giving the company 15 per cent of the fragmented UK market.

The other acquisition, Skypak, makes specialist packaging for the aerospace industry.

Ross has grown steadily since it was rescued from bankruptcy in 1989. It was taken over then by Noel Hayes, the former City analyst, and Roger Shute, who until June last year was chairman of BM, the fast-growing construction equipment company.

Albert E Sharp, the Birmingham-based stockbroker, expects pre-tax profits of pounds 4m in 1992 to jump 25 per cent to pounds 5m this year. Despite that, Ross's shares have been dismal performers over the past 12 months, thanks to what Mr Hayes describes as the 'Roger Shute effect'.

Mr Shute's departure from both BM and Ross for health reasons led to a slump in their share prices, as attention focused on BM's accounting policies. BM fell from a high of 417p to its current 76p. Ross followed BM down, from a high last year of 47p to a low of 22p. Its shares are now 29p.

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