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Caradon set to buy US Easco

CARADON, the UK-based construction and home improvement products manufacturer, is poised to buy the United States' largest independent aluminium extrusion firm Easco for pounds 100m.

The acquisition, which will double the size of Caradon's existing extrusion business, is part of a strategy to focus on the company's four top-line divisions: extrusion, plumbing, electrical equipment and security printing. This follows the firm's disposal of its underperforming doors and windows businesses.

News of the acquisition was released alongside Caradon's half-year figures which showed overall operating profit from continuing operations ahead by 17 per cent. But pre-tax profits fell to pounds 56.7m in the first six months compared to pounds 72m for the same period last year.

Martin Clark, Caradon's group finance director, said: "We have been energetic in repositioning the company and in regaining market share."

Easco, headed by Norman Wells, makes soft-alloy aluminium products and vinyl extrusions at 12 plants in the US and serves the transport, electronics, building, consumer durables and distribution markets. The firm's turnover in the year to December 1998 was pounds 197m and profit before tax was pounds 8.4m.

Last week, Caradon named Sir Graham Hearn, the Enterprise Oil chairman, as its non-executive chairman. He succeeds Peter Jansen, former group head, who died last year.