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BTR tempers optimism on outlook for profits

BTR warned the City yesterday that its profits expectations for the year to December were too high, blaming a downturn in industrial activity around the world. The industrial conglomerate's shares slipped 14p to 320p as analysts took red pens to their forecasts.

The market's relatively benign reaction compared with its harsh treatment of the company a year ago when BTR's shares tumbled 12 per cent in a day following a similar statement warning of difficulties passing on rising raw material prices.

"As is now becoming evident in many countries, industrial activity in 1995 has shown little signs of sustained recovery following the strong first quarter," the company said. Particular areas of weakness included Australian construction and both North American and European automotive activities.

Yesterday's trading news came as BTR, one of Britain's 10 largest companies, wrapped up the acquisition of its Australian subsidiary BTR Nylex and ahead of the transfer of power from Alan Jackson to his successor as chief executive, Ian Strachan.

The trading statement left most analysts relatively unworried. Geoff Allum at Henderson Crosthwaite said he expected a conservative trading statement before the end of BTR's financial year in December, but he cut his full-year forecast by pounds 100m to pounds 1.44bn.