Beales Hunter 20% ahead after tough second half

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The Independent Online
BEALES HUNTER, the refrigeration, electricals and textiles company, yesterday blamed bad debts and the recession for disappointing trading in the second half of last year, writes

Topaz Amoore.

Pre-tax profits were up 20 per cent at pounds 2.24m, but profits from refrigeration were down on last year after a poorly managed contract was completed with a shortfall of pounds 200,000.

Bad weather at the end of the year to 31 May also meant fewer servicing and maintenance jobs were done.

'Customers are reluctant to invest and what business is available tends to be at lower margins,' Beales said.

Profits from the electrical division were ahead by 22 per cent before an exceptional cost of pounds 134,000 to cover a bad debt. Orders at the year-end were up on 1992, but they were placed on very short lead times and pressure on margins remained.

Beales is looking for acquisitions and has invested pounds 200,000 in developing non-rewirable plugs to meet rapidly growing demand.

Turnover rose by 13 per cent in textiles, where profits soared by 54 per cent, but it will have to increase by a further 15 per cent to give an acceptable return at current margins, Beales said.

The final dividend of 6.95p gave a total of 9.4p, against 9.25p in 1992. The shares closed at 258p, up 4p.