Bankers Trust, which owns 69 per cent of the company, is understood to have demanded a special dividend after it lost patience with the search for acquisitions.
Last month a 62.4p special dividend was paid, representing pounds 22m of the cash pile.
Bryan Morrall, chairman, said he had no idea why British Syphon's share price had jumped from 120p to 180p when the dividend was announced. The ex-dividend shares closed 5p lower yesterday at 105p.
The company is left with three profitable divisions and pounds 11m cash. Mr Morrall said that he was committed to retaining all the engineering, packaging and automotive parts operations.
Pre-tax profits for the six months to June were pounds 2.27m, down from last year's pounds 2.62m. Most of the decline stemmed from a reduction in interest receivable from pounds 1.5m to pounds 1m. Earnings per share were 4.5p compared with 4.7p. Following the special dividend there was no interim payout (2p last time).
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