Company News in Brief

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The Independent Online
Essex Furniture, the USM-quoted niche retailer and manufacturer, announced a 46 per cent increase in pre-tax profits from pounds 497,000 to pounds 727,000 for the year to 30 June, despite a general decline in consumer expenditure on household goods. In its third year on the Unlisted Securities Market, Essex managed to improve turnover by more than 50 per cent to pounds 7.15m ( pounds 4.7m). Michael Franks, chairman, said that they intend to open a further three showrooms to complement the five that were opened last year. He said the one-for-three rights issue in May this year that raised roughly pounds 1.1m provided working capital to maintain their anticipated increase in business. Interest charges were slashed from pounds 41,000 to pounds 3,000. Earnings per share climbed from 3.25p to 5.03p. A 1.5p (1.25p) final dividend takes the total for the year to 2.75p (2.25p).

Ex-Lands, the investment and leisure group that is developing golf courses in Continental Europe, turned around taxable losses of pounds 8,000 to report pre-tax profits of pounds 65,000 for the year to 30 June. Turnover in the period was down from pounds 1.28m to pounds 1.25m. Earnings per share were raised to 0.1p (0.06p). The company reported that its operations over the last year had expanded significantly. It is currently engaged in six projects in Europe with International Management Group, a sports and entertainment group, which took a stake in the group in the summer of 1991. Ex-Land's net asset value per share after incorporating the surpluses arising on the group's projects at the year-end grew from 39.1p to 44.8p. No dividend.

Edinburgh Investment Trust declared a maintained dividend payout of 2.85p for the six months to 30 September. Net asset value per share increased from 253.9p to 254.9p in the period between 1 April and 30 September. The managers said investment income fell from pounds 24.3m to pounds 20.9m reflecting reduced exposure to the UK in the early part of the year as well as sales and dividend cuts from some UK companies.