Bottom Line: Mini-comeback

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sometimes they do come back. Walker Greenbank has been transformed in three years from a near-bust mini-conglomerate into a sharp, well-focused producer of wallcoverings and furniture fabrics.

The company yesterday reported pre-tax profits of pounds 3.4m in the first half against pounds 1.9m last time. Peeling away FRS3 distortions, operating profits in continuing businesses rose 5 per cent to pounds 3.5m while earnings per share were 14 per cent ahead on a like-for-like basis.

The management says it is seeing steady recovery on the commercial wallcoverings side. Debt is now down to 6 per cent of shareholders' funds, and cautious moves have been made into Europe and the complementary area of furniture fabric. Moreover, Walker is highly operationally geared, with enormous gross margins.

The management's achievement is to some extent acknowledged in a healthy share price, about 18 times prospective earnings for the full year. But the shares, at 90p, probably have a little way to go and might see 100p before the year is out.