Company News in Brief

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Avon Rubber, which makes components and polymer-based products for the automotive industry, slipped pounds 100,000 to pounds 4.9m pre-tax profits in the six months to 31 March, hit by exceptional losses and non-recurring costs. Certain sectors of the marine industry are seeing signs of an up-turn, but not the inflatable boat business. Avon's business lost pounds 544,000 for the half- year, of which pounds 245,000 related to the glass-fibre operation on the Isle of Wight. This business was sold last December causing a further loss of pounds 700,000. Sales in Avon's tyres division were down 9.5 per cent to pounds 37m, while the automotive components divisions in Europe and the US saw sales rise 24 per cent to pounds 60m and operating profits more than double to pounds 3.8m. Interim dividend is held at 5p.

Chemex International, provider of chemical analytical services, revealed a turnaround from pounds 94,000 taxable loss to pounds 49,000 pre-tax profit in the six months to 31 March. Turnover improved to pounds 780,000 ( pounds 610,000). Earnings per share recovered to 0.12p (Lps 0.24p). No dividend.

Lynx Holdings, the computer hardware and software group, more than quadrupled pre-tax profits from pounds 105,000 to pounds 460,000 in the six months to 31 March. Turnover increased to pounds 7.3m ( pounds 4.7m). Earnings per share are 1.15p (0.83p). Interim dividend is 0.36p (0.3p).

Northern Leisure, the discos and bowling alleys group that underwent a big restructuring at the end of last year under Whitegate Leisure, its old name, yesterday announced a 51 per cent jump in pre- tax profits to just over pounds 1m ( pounds 682,000) for the six months to 28 February. Earnings per share rose to 3.4p (2.4p). No dividend.

REA Holdings, the plantation crops, merchants and warehousing group, achieved pounds 1.05m pre-tax profit (loss pounds 326,000) for the year ended 31 December. Turnover edged ahead to pounds 90.6m ( pounds 87.8m). Earnings per share were 3.2p (7.6p).