Automated Security passes interim payout

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The Independent Online
AUTOMATED Security Holdings, the alarm leasing group, passed its dividend for the six months to May, despite a 43 per cent rise in interim earnings per share, writes Tom Stevenson.

Last October a furore over a profits warning that undermined a planned enhanced scrip dividend alternative to the cash payout forced BZW, the company's stockbroker, to resign.

The warning came less than three months after ASH encouraged shareholders to take their interim dividend in shares by offering them 50 per cent more than the cash payment. The warning sent the shares tumbling 30p to 102p.

Tom Buffett, chairman, said the board had deferred a decision on the nature and value of a 1994 dividend until the results for the full year were known. The shares closed 5p higher at 109p.

In the first six months profits rose 19 per cent to pounds 5.79m from revenues up pounds 3.4m at pounds 81.6m. Earnings per share were 3p (2.1p).

Trading continued to improve in the second quarter, with last year's restructuring, which cut staff numbers by 700, improving cash flow and profits. In the US recurring revenues fell 6 per cent, mainly thanks to difficult trading conditions in California. American profits were slightly lower after a higher depreciation charge.