Bottom Line: Holier at Hanson

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The Independent Online
ALTHOUGH veteran dealers on the stock market still like to bandy Hanson around as a predator in the most unlikely situations, things have changed.

The pounds 96m agreed acquisition of George Scholes is a good example of the company's new approach. It displays classical industrial logic that can only enhance Hanson's investment image.

Scholes fits well with Hanson's existing electrical equipment company, Crabtree, and will give the combined operation market shares of between 20 and 25 per cent.

Costs - that is to say, jobs - will be cut. But Hanson also intends to invest and to strengthen the product range.

The deal provides more proof that Hanson is changing. It realises that rigorous cost control is not the only road to enhanced shareholder value. Bolt-on acquisitions can be found to develop market penetration for the long term.

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