Caradon looks to Germany

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Shares in Caradon rose 10p to 254p on the back of a generally upbeat trading statement from chairman Antony Hichens at yesterday's annual meeting. Analyst forecast that profits before tax will rise this year to around £235m from £201m.

Mr Hichens sounded some notes of caution, however. He said the recovery in the UK trade cycle had been weaker than expected, and that last year's growth in North America had not continued across the board in the first quarter.

Caradon's doors and windows operations in the UK and North America were proving difficult, although the rest of the group was on track, Mr Hichens added.

Progress this year in Germany, the company's main market on the Continent, had been slow, but other European markets were more buoyant. A month ago, Caradon bolstered its position in Germany by investing £109m in a 21.3 per cent stake in Weru, a maker of doors and windows.

Weru, in which Caradon will eventually take a 50 per cent stake, will dovetail with the UK company's Alpine and Everest window businesses. Caradon's other branded products include MK plugs, Mira showers, Catnic building materials, and Twyfords plumbing.

Mr Hichens told shareholders that the group expected to exchange products and expertise with Weru. Germany is the largest market in Europe for windows and doors, with the extensive rebuilding taking place in the former east Germany.