Barcom tells of upturn

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CONSTRUCTION work, especially road building and widening, has picked up strongly this year for Barcom, the plant hire company, writes Tom Stevenson.

Brian Thompson, joint chief executive, said yesterday: 'All the people we work for are very busy at the moment. In order to meet demand we are having to hire machinery from third parties.'

Barcom, which changed its name a year ago from Venture Plant, also announced profits before tax in the six months to March of pounds 757,000 compared with a loss last year of pounds 76,000. Boosted by acquisitions, turnover jumped from pounds 1.4m to pounds 13m.

Barcom has reduced its dependence on the coal industry from 75 per cent of turnover to less than 50 per cent. Seven of the 25 pits at which the company operates coal handling plant have been earmarked for closure.

Earnings per share were 4.05p compared with a loss of 0.3p. The interim dividend, 1.25p (nil), repeats last year's final. The shares fell 4p to 100p.