Company News in Brief

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Leslie Wise, the clothing and fabrics group, reported a slight fall in pre-tax profits to pounds 2.5m ( pounds 2.9m) for the year to 30 November. Turnover rose to pounds 48.7m ( pounds 40.5m), helped by improved UK and export turnover, but any gains were offset by the direct impact of increased import prices after sterling left the exchange rate mechanism last September. High bad debt in the last quarter of its financial year and the costs involved in the closure of two unprofitable design companies also held back the overall result. Interest charges rose sharply to pounds 321,000 ( pounds 51,000). It maintained the final dividend at 2.25p, making 4p (same).

SWP Group, which makes and installs components for the construction industry, edged ahead to pounds 42,000 ( pounds 31,000) pre-tax profits for the six months to 31 December. No dividend.

Lasmo, the oil group, has agreed to sell its remaining Australian interests to Sagasco Resources for Adollars 10m ( pounds 4.8m). The sale marks the end of Lasmo's exploration and production activities in Australia.