While operating profits rose strongly in the US and the UK began to recover, profits in Continental Europe fell. John Westhead, chief executive, said the positive trends in the US were continuing, with especially strong demand in medical and information technology markets, and there were now encouraging signs in Europe.
Turnover advanced 26 per cent to pounds 334.3m. The group's sales to defence and aerospace businesses continued to fall, reaching 6.1 per cent of the total compared with about a third a decade ago, but turnover in other activities rose.
Acquisitions added pounds 9.3m to total sales, taking Bowthorpe into environmental markets for the first time with emission monitoring systems. The acquired businesses, based in the US, contributed pounds 2.1m out of total trading profits of pounds 50.4m.
A rights issue in December left the group with no net borrowing at the end of the year. Dr Westhead said it would look for acquisitions to expand its environmental instruments arm outside North America.
James Heal, an analyst at Hoare Govett, said: 'Bowthorpe has turned the corner in Europe, where sales grew in the second half of the year after falling in the first. It is also turning its attention to the expanding Asia-Pacific region.' He forecasts pre-tax profits of pounds 59m in 1994.
Earnings per share rose 18 per cent to 18.18p and Bowthorpe raised the dividend for the year from 6.36p to 6.91p. The shares fell 3p to 347p.
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