Boxmore ahead of expectations

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The Independent Online
BOXMORE International, the Belfast packaging group, yesterday reported a 23 per cent surge in taxable profits to pounds 2m for the half- year to 30 June, on a 56 per cent jump in sales to pounds 16m, writes Neil Thapar.

The results, ahead of market expectations, pushed the shares 13p higher to 190p. Tipped in the Independent 1992 portfolio, they have gained by 50 per cent since the beginning of the year.

The profits growth stemmed from sharply higher contributions from all parts of the business, reflecting rising demand from multi- national customers.

Sales from carton manufacturing improved by almost 46 per cent because of higher orders from the pharmaceuticals industry. The carton-making plant is being extended by 12,000 sq ft to cope with new orders and will come on stream by mid-1993.

Sales at the plastic container business, which accounts for 70 per cent of group profits, rose 9 per cent, excluding the purchase of two factories from Airopak.

The division, which supplies soft drinks makers with plastic bottles, was partly helped by a good summer.

Capital expenditure amounted to pounds 2.2m in the first half and is expected to jump from pounds 4m to pounds 4.6m for the full year. Despite the spending, it is expected to end the year with pounds 3m net cash.

The group is on the look-out for acquisitions but says that prices demanded by vendors remain too high.

Earnings per share jumped almost 18 per cent to 7.3p and the interim dividend has been lifted 7 per cent to 1.15p.

Harold Ennis, chairman, said that the company was confident about prospects. 'Predicting future trading conditions is, in the present uncertain economic climate, problematic, particularly in the UK. However, I have every confidence that our trading results for the year will be satisfactory.'

City analysts expect full-year profits to improve from pounds 3m to pounds 3.5m for the full year, rating the shares on 15 times earnings.