Albright to ride out peso crash

Albright & Wilson, the chemicals company re-floating on the market after a 17-year gap, is to keep faith with the joint venture route to international growth despite writing off £3.6m following the recent collapse of the Mexican peso.

The devaluation came less than a month after Albright set up a joint venture with Troy Grupo Industrial to make purified wet phosphoric acid.

Dr Robin Paul, chief executive, said the silver lining of the peso's slump was it gave Albright an even lower cost base in Mexico - a crucial investment factor. Observers believe other key expansion areas include China, India and Eastern Europe.

Dr Paul said that although the March flotation, expected to value the company at £600m, would give it access to alternative financing, future expansion would not be acquisition-driven.

"Joint ventures are important to us," he added. "We have nine significant ones." They range from North Carolina in the US to Australia, and have annual turnover of about £250m.

Yesterday's flotation pathfinder prospectus said that the Troy Grupo charge was part of a £20.2m exceptional charge for restructuring and environmental improvement of closed plants. It said the charge meant estimated taxable profits in 1994 would probably fall to £40.7m against £58.3m in 1993. However, operating profits are expected to have risen from £56.4m to £62.7m.

Next month's return to a public listing comes 17 years after Tenneco, the US conglomerate that already owned 50 per cent of Albright, bought the remaining 50 per cent. It is now selling its interest via a placing, mainly with institutional investors, in order to focus on core interests. Between 5 per cent and 15 per cent of the shares will be available to the public.

Birmingham-based Albright is one of the world's biggest makers of phosphates and surfacants - used in products such as washing powder, toothpaste and soft drinks. Its speciality chemicals are used in flame retardants.

Dr Paul said the company's strategy was to continue expanding into high-margin "downstream" - added value - products. This partly accounted, he said, for Albright's success in passing on raw material price increases to consumers. "We are increasingly selling technology rather than chemicals," he added.

The prospectus also revealed that the company is involved in litigation in the US relating to an explosion and fire at one of its plants in 1991, which killed nine people. Dr Paul said the claims were being contested but that Albright was insured.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss