Bardon sells marine division for pounds 72.3m

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The Independent Online

Bardon Group, the quarrying and aggregates group, has sold its marine aggregates unit, Civil and Marine, to ARC Marine, a subsidiary of Hanson, for pounds 72.3m.

Bardon, which admitted yesterday that it was facing difficult trading conditions in the UK, said the sale left the company with a "sound financial structure". Peter Tom, chief executive, said: "With a more robust balance sheet we will have much more flexibility in developing our four mainstream businesses, all of which have strong positions in their respective markets." Gearing is expected to fall to 45 per cent.

Civil and Marine Holdings made an operating profit of pounds 5.5m in 1994 and had net assets of pounds 65.9m.

The acquisition, subject to Bardon shareholder approval, will consolidate ARC's position as Europe's leading producer of sea-dredged sand and gravel.

David Snowdon, chairman of ARC, said: "This important move increases our presence in Europe, where we trade at 12 ports, and gives us a firm footing in the important Thames market.

"C&M has a major presence in the London area, where we expect further growth.

"Since 1990, supplies of marine aggregates to mainland Europe have increased substantially. This acquisition complements our existing business."

Derek Bonham, Hanson's chief executive, added: "This acquisition fits well into our strategy of building up our busin- esses by bolt-on acquisition and investment."