Crabtree shares rise with news of dividend

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Crabtree, the North-east heavy engineer, jumped 13p yesterday to 284p on news that it intends to pay a 2p dividend, writes Robert Cole.

The company published results yesterday for the first time since it came to the stock market last June.

It made pounds 1.1m, up from pounds 35,000. However, the figures are for nine months to 30 September and include a contribution from Crabtree for the last three months only. Comparable figures are for a company that was almost dormant.

Underlying operating profit from Crabtree for the year to September rose 46 per cent to pounds 3m. Karl Watkin, the chairman, added that the 2p dividend was paid from the three months of earnings while Crabtree was a listed company. Its own stockbroker, Credit Lyonnais Laing, forecasts a dividend of 6p this year. Mr Watkin also reiterated his intention to make a substantial acquisition.

The company makes machines that print on metal. It came to the stock market last June by taking over a shell vehicle called Somerset. Since a placing and rights issue held at the same time, shares have nearly doubled in value.

The float increased the number of shares in issue from 1 million to 6.1 million but earnings per share still increased from 1.1p to 10.7p.

Vinay Bedi, an analyst with the Newcastle-based stockbroker Wise Speke, predicts the company will make pre-tax profits of pounds 3.8m this year.

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