Bottom Line: Grand Met is fully valued

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The Independent Online
SIR ALLEN Sheppard, chairman of Grand Metropolitan, may reasonably claim that the group is no longer the confusing conglomerate it was when he took over, but that does not make its figures any easier to analyse. Take North American food: once last year's restructuring charges are stripped out, the 9 per cent local currency growth becomes a 2 per cent fall.

Elsewhere, margins and volumes remain under pressure. Green Giant, hit by the bumper harvest in 1992, is recovering and should benefit from the cut in vegetable stocks following the Midwest floods.

IDV, the drinks business, remains a success despite the pending loss of the Absolut vodka contract in the US. Russia has become the fifth-biggest market for Smirnoff vodka in only a year. In food retailing, Burger King is also fixed on an upward path. Worldwide sales rose 4 per cent to dollars 6.7bn, and further growth should be achieved this year.

The outlook for Grand Met's shares is bleaker, however. They rose 13p to 430p yesterday, against 444p a year ago. Assuming 1993/4 profits of pounds 970m, the p/e is a fully valued 14.

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