Company News in Brief

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Sidney C Banks, the grain and agricultural merchant, reported a jump in pre-tax profits from pounds 1.5m to pounds 2.1m in the six months to 31 October. The rise in profits was achieved, however, on a slight decline in turnover from pounds 119.2m to pounds 114.3m, owing to a reduced 1993 harvest and lower grain prices. The company said this resulted from factors that arose from recently introduced reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy. All divisions of the group maintained margins and operated at profit. Earnings per share grew from 12.4p to 15.6p. The interim dividend, payable on 31 March, is raised to 3.5p (3p).

Asda Property Holdings, the investment company, developer and property trader, has bought Wheatley Centre, a 175,000 sq ft development in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, from receiver Touche Ross for pounds 5.08m in cash. Half the development is vacant. Rental income from existing tenants is pounds 450,000 a year.

MY Holdings, the packaging maker, yesterday reported the acquisition of Doncaster packaging and its associated operation, Screenprint, from Chapman Industries, for about pounds 1.9m. Screenprint specialises in making display and point of sale products.

E&S Retail, one of the largest electrical retailers in the UK, is to change its name to Powerhouse from 1 March.