Company News in Brief

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Waterford Foods, manufacturer and retailer of dairy and other food products, achieved pounds 20.4m ( pounds 15.9m) pre-tax profit for the year ended 31 December. Turnover rose 30 per cent to pounds 551.4m ( pounds 423.8m). However, the group said turmoil in the currency and interest rate markets hit profits in the fourth quarter. The company believes the full-year effect of the Express and Premier acquisitions, the integration and reorganisation measures in Waterford Foods UK, will ensure further profit growth this year. Earnings per share improved to 10p (9.27p). Final dividend is 1.58p, making 2.73p (2.625p).

Porth Group, the Christmas decorations manufacturer, reduced pre-tax losses from pounds 1.3m to pounds 1.2m for the year ended 31 December, still suffering from exceptional costs of pounds 1m ( pounds 415,000) for redundancies and asset devaluation. The company said the high exceptional costs incurred in the past three years are not expected to recur. Loss per share was cut to 6.4p (9.6p). No dividend.

Herring Baker Harris, the commercial estate agents and chartered surveyors, revealed a slump in pre-tax profits from pounds 3.5m to pounds 1.4m for the year to 31 January, despite a rise in turnover to pounds 19.4m from pounds 13.5m. Earnings per share fell sharply to 3.97p (19.2p). Final dividend is 0.5p, making 3.75p (7p).

S&U Stores, retailer of electrical and household products and provider of consumer credit, lifted pre-tax profits to pounds 4.5m ( pounds 4.3m) for the year to 31 January. Earnings per share improved to 27.4p (25.3p). Final dividend is 7.6p, making 10p (8.18p).

Tullow Oil, the oil and gas producer, reported higher pre-tax profits of Ir pounds 1.6m (Ir pounds 1.2m) for the year ended 31 December. Earnings per share are Ir1.12p (Ir0.89p). No dividend.

Shires High Yield Investment Trust is paying 1p (2.2p) dividend for the three months to 31 March. Taxable revenue amounted to pounds 133,000. Net asset value per share grew to 124.8p (111.5p).