Mr Hutchings continues to bide his time, believing that recession will drive prices lower before any upturn. With pounds 100m of cash in the balance sheet and no debt, he is well placed to pounce.
SHARES IN Tomkins, the engineering conglomerate run by Greg Hutchings, the former Hanson executive, raced up 18p on Friday to 459p as the stock market looked forward to buoyant full-year profits figures due to be announced tomorrow. Followers should not be disappointed. At the pre-tax level, profits should be up 18 per cent at pounds 132m. Earnings are likely to show a more mediocre advance of just 5 per cent but compared with an average decrease among quoted companies for last year of 13.5 per cent, that's not bad. Expect the dividend to rise about 15 per cent. No news yet, however, on the long-awaited acquisition.