Company News in Brief

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The Independent Online
MAI, the international services group, has sold the loss- making business of Safeguard Insurance to Hill House Hammond, a subsidiary of Norwich Union, for pounds 6.4m in cash. Hill House Hammond will buy half of Safeguard's branches. The sale proceeds will be used to contribute towards the closure costs of the remaining branches of Safeguard.

A&C Black, the publisher, reported a fall in pre-tax profits to pounds 507,000 ( pounds 535,000) for the year ended 31 December on lower sales of pounds 6.1m ( pounds 6.8m) to pounds 6.1m. EPS slipped to 23.5p (24.4p). Total dividend is unchanged at 13.5p.

Year to 31 January

New City & Commercial IT is to make a final dividend payout of 2.8p taking the total to 4.1p. Net asset value per share grew to 151.22p (97.53p).

North Atlantic Smaller Companies IT passed the final dividend payout, leaving the total at 1.2p. Net asset value per share rose to 256p (194p).

Six months to 31 January

Barry Wehmiller, consumer products packaging equipment maker, virtually halved pre-tax profits from pounds 3.2m to pounds 1.65m. EPS fell to 2.4p (5p). Dividend is held at 2.4p.

IAWS Group, the agricultural products, animal feeds and food products maker and supplier, boosted pre-tax profits by 70 per cent to Ir pounds 2m (Ir pounds 1.2m) as turnover soared to Ir pounds 218.2m (Ir pounds 176.2m). EPS rose to Ir1.47p (Ir0.93p) and the interim payout to 1.15p (1p).