Brandon passes payout despite profit rise

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SHARES in Brandon Hire fell 7p to 52p yesterday after the USM-quoted plant hire company passed its interim dividend for the second year running, writes Tom Stevenson.

There was no payout despite a 62 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 99,000, although Brian Nathan, chairman, said he was optimistic that a full-year dividend would be paid.

Increased tool hire activity, especially in the second quarter, helped turnover to rise 8 per cent to pounds 2.35m despite a patchy recovery. Earnings per share were 0.86p (0.59p).

Mr Nathan said the catering division increased sales 3 per cent despite a reduction in corporate hospitality during the half, which had increased competition. Marquees had also been hit by late bookings and cancellations.

At the beginning of the year the company added mini-diggers and temporary lavatories to its range. The latter are expected to benefit from tighter hygiene regulations, although in the short term the start- up costs of the new division held back profits.

Brandon Hire came to the market in September 1989 at 74p just as the construction market was beginning to turn down. The shares fell to 18p by the beginning of 1993.