City File: Tomkins on top

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The Independent Online
Tomkins, the acquisitive 'son of Hanson', has yet to recover the credibility it lost last autumn with its pounds 935m bid for Ranks Hovis McDougall, which the market deemed too expensive.

But next week's full-year results could go some way to confounding the critics.

Pre-tax profits are set to reach pounds 170m, even though the RHM businesses have contributed just pounds 25m. But margins could be transformed not only by brand building at RHM (such as Bisto) but savage cost- cutting - with most of a pounds 90m merger provision designated to cover redundancies at bakeries, depots and offices closed or due for the axe.

So it is realistic to hope for a total of pounds 250m next year. At 224p, Tomkins shares are rated below similar groups with rather less upside potential.

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