Bullish prospects at Suter

DAVID HELLIER

David Abell, the chairman and chief executive of Suter, the motor component to spectacle case manufacturer, was in bullish mood yesterday after unveiling half-year profits up from pounds 12m to pounds 14.6m.

"Performance to date in the first two months of the second-half of the year is extremely encouraging," he said. "I look to the future with great confidence. Suter has developed a momentum, a focus and a strategy which should lead to a continuation of strong growth for our group."

Mr Abell's remarks and analysis of the half-year results encouraged analysts to move their full-year forecasts upwards. Adrian Foulger at Robert Fleming is now looking for full-year profits from the group of a little more than pounds 28m, having forecast pounds 27.3m earlier.

Shares in Suter climbed 7p on the day to 201p, placing them on a prospective price earnings multiple of around 12.5 times. The shares stand on a lower rating than many companies in its sector.

Mr Abell, investigated and cleared by the Department of Trade and Industry after allegations of controversial share dealing some years ago, still struggles to court more cautious institutional shareholders.

The group said that it is in talks to dispose of its struggling consumer goods business, which no longer fits with the main areas of refrigeration, automotive and chemicals, finance director Alan Hewitt said yesterday. The division's first-half profits were pounds 0.2m against pounds 0.7m previously, on turnover slightly up on last year.

Interim dividend is up from 3.5p to 3.7p.

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