Bright results at Menvier-Swain

MAGNUS GRIMOND

Menvier-Swain, the lighting products group, yesterday reported a strong start to the year as it revealed an 18 per cent rise in profits for the 12 months to April.

Tony McCann, chairman, said: "Despite the continuing pressures on margins, particularly in the UK emergency lighting sector, the new financial year has started well with sales and profits ahead of last year.

"Our markets continue to grow and the group is well positioned to take advantage of these growth opportunities and I look forward to reporting another successful year ahead."

The year was unusual in that there were no acquisitions during the period. In December, the company failed to agree terms on a merger with alarms supplier Scantronic.

Pre-tax profits came in at pounds 11.1m, up from pounds 9.36m before, despite continuing problems in Germany, where the Menvier-Notstrom subsidiary recorded trading losses of pounds 850,000. Mr McCann said Germany was a large and important market and one which the company felt it advisable to persevere with. Costs had been cut and it was now trading at break-even levels.

Elsewhere, profits fell at Menvier Hybrids and Pretronica in Portugal, but all the other businesses saw improved performances. There were strong results in the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Australia.

The margin pressures in the UK particularly hit the emergency lighting businesses. Menvier Electronic Engineers and Menvier Amberlec Systems bore the brunt of the pressure, but still raised profits.

Capital expenditure was pounds 4.9m during the year. Gearing fell from 14 per cent to 3 per cent. Turnover rose from pounds 70.3m to pounds 85.1m, with earnings per share rising from 12.9p to 15.3p. A final dividend of 3.5p raises the total 21 per cent to 5.1p.

The company also announced the appointment of Gavin James as finance director to replace the late Carl Hadley.

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