COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF;

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The Independent Online
COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

Gartmore Smaller Companies maintained the interim dividend at 1.5p for the six months to 28 February. Net asset value per share fell to 244.2p (266.8p).

Henderson Highland Trust, the investment trust, is paying 1.45p dividend, making a total of 5.7p (7.13p) for the year to 28 February. Revenue before tax slipped to £1.9m (£2.1m), as did net asset value per share from 131.9p to 111.7p.

Villiers Group, developer of oil and gas in the US and supplier of small engine spares, turned around from £1.9m taxable loss to £482,000 pre-tax profit in the six months to 31 January, helped by a sharp rise in turnover to £1.65m (£795,000). Earnings per share recovered to 0.38p (lps 1.83p). No dividend.

Year ended 31 December

Bodycote International, which makes safety products and offers financial services to property management, increased pre-tax profits to £15.8m (£11.8m) on turnover up to £84.3m (£75m). Earnings per share improved to 18.6p (14.1p). Final dividend is 3.6p, making 5.75p (5.25p).

Friendly Hotels, the hotels management group, lifted pre-tax profits to £3.65m (£2.6m) as turnover improved to £38.8m (£32.3m). Earnings per share rose to 8.7p (6.3p), while a 3.5p final dividend maintained the total payout at 5.7p.

Shorco Group, which makes and hires out laser and surveying equipment to the construction industry, reported a two-fold increase in pre-tax profits to £582,000 (£284,000). Turnover grew to £8.4m (£7.1m). Earnings per share jumped to 8.2p (4.2p). Final dividend is 2p, making 3.8p (3.5p).

New Ireland Holdings, the life assurance company, returned lower pre- tax profits of £6.5m (£8.7m). Earnings per share dropped to 33p (43.6p). Final dividend is 11.46p, making 15.31p (13.81p).

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