City File: New Hanson fancier

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IF Wassall fancies itself as the new Hanson, or even the new Tomkins, it does not want to make bids that it cannot win. It came unstuck with its Evode offer, being beaten to the punch by Laporte of all companies, but it raised pounds 50m from shareholders on the back of the offer and this has strengthened its balance sheet no end.

Its full-year results will show Wassal to be in rude health, with profits having risen 70 per cent to pounds 17.5m and earnings up 15 per cent to 9.4p. City analysts are also encouraged by the prospects for this year.

But at 220p, the shares trade at more than 24 times earnings and look expensive.