Blue Circle in Asian buying spree

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BLUE CIRCLE, the cement-making group, is planning a pounds 200m acquisition spree in Malaysia and the Philippines despite experiencing a difficult first half in its Asian operations.

James Loudon, the finance director (left), said the group was looking at a number of companies, and the economic turmoil in Asia had thrown up several opportunities. His comments came as Blue Circle reported a 7.6 per cent fall in interim profits to pounds 131m. The fall was due to a first- quarter loss in the Canadian operation and a pounds 6.4m hit from the strong pound. Profits in Malaysia and Singapore more than halved as the crisis savaged demand, the company said.