Company News in Brief

Britton Group, formerly known as Firstland Group, with interests mainly in the exploration of oil and gas before it transformed itself into a packaging company, has deepened pre-tax losses from pounds 743,000 to pounds 2.3m for the year ended 31 December. In November last year the group agreed the pounds 4.8m purchase of Gelpack Industrial, a private producer of polythene packaging, and set about trying to dispose of its oil and gas interests with the aid of a new management team appointed earlier in the year. A loss arose from the disposals of the company's oil and gas activities that generated cash, but also caused a book loss amounting to pounds 2.1m. It disposed of its resources activities in December. The two-month ownership of Gelpack before the year-end is reflected in the sharp rise in turnover from pounds 393,000 to pounds 2.3m. Interest charges fell to pounds 28,000 ( pounds 137,000). The group paid a reconstruction dividend of 0.03p.

British Data Management, the London-based data storage and management company that made its stock market debut just before the General Election, reported a sharp increase in pre-tax profits from pounds 779,000 to pounds 1.7m in the six months to 31 December. Turnover rose to pounds 7m ( pounds 6.2m). Interim dividend is 1.5p.

Murray European Investment Trust declared an improved final dividend of 0.16p (0.15p) for the year ended 31 December. Net asset value per share is 46.3p (42p).

Gartmore Scotland Investment Trust is paying a reduced dividend of 2.4p for the six months to 31 January. It generated taxable revenues of pounds 753,000 ( pounds 1m).