Bemrose raises pounds 21m: Rights issue will fund two acquisitions

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The Independent Online
BEMROSE, the cheque, calendar and diary printer, is raising pounds 21.1m though a rights issue to fund two acquisitions. The market reacted enthusiastically to the news, pushing the shares up 17p to 343p.

The bigger of the two deals involves buying the 50 per cent that Bemrose does not own of a US joint venture with Yattendon Investment Trust, the property group.

Bemrose Yattendon, which made pre-tax profits of dollars 5.8m in 1992, has three divisions, all of which make promotional products: Souvenir decorates pens for the corporate advertising industry; Janesville makes etched crystal products for the same market; Renaissance specialises in books, calendars and cards for funeral directors. Bemrose is paying an initial pounds 11m for Yattendon's share of the company, with a further dollars 2.5m due next year.

Bemrose is also paying pounds 4m for Barnard and Jackson, a north London printer of own-label diaries for chains such as WH Smith. Last year Barnard and Jackson made a profit of pounds 658,000 from sales of pounds 5.8m. It had net assets of pounds 2.3m.

Bemrose also announced results for the year to January yesterday, showing a 24 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to pounds 6.25m. That included a pounds 1.75m contribution from Bemrose Yattendon in the US, an 83 per cent improvement on the previous year.

In the UK, operating profits rose 4 per cent to pounds 5.5m, reflecting the disposal of loss-making businesses last year and a reduction in staff costs.

Earnings per share increased by 22 per cent to 24.3p. The final dividend of 7.45p, payable on the enlarged share capital, makes a maintained total of 11.75p. The rights shares are being issued on a one-for-two basis at 265p.