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Alstom in pounds 560m sell-off

ALSTOM, THE Anglo-French engineering group, yesterday announced buoyant pre-tax profits and the sale of the bulk of its industrial division in a bid to focus on its high-earning transport and power transmission businesses.

The results, the first since the group spun off from telecoms giant Alcatel to float last June, beat analysts' forecasts to see profit rise to 303m euros. Jim Cronin, Alstom's deputy chief executive, said the company - which makes power stations, trains, ships and industrial equipment - would be selling 850m euros of its industrial division over the next year.

Analysts yesterday welcomed the disposals and Alstom's decision in March to merge its power engineering business with ABB, the Swedish industrial group.