Disposals put Dobson in the black

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The Independent Online
DOBSON Park Industries, the engineering group, has returned to profit thanks to the sale of two non-performing subsidiaries. Taxable profit for the half-year to 2 April was pounds 4.8m compared with losses last time of pounds 700,000, writes Robert Cole.

Alan Kaye, chairman, said the turnaround was entirely due to the business reorganisation. The company had benefited little from market conditions, he said.

In addition to the disposal of the two subsidiaries, Power Tools and Revere Aerospace, Dobson has injected its mining equipment operations into a company called Longwall, a joint venture with Meco, Britain's other leading supplier of pit ceiling supports. The move was dictated by expected reductions in British Coal's deep mining. Dobson has 59 per cent of Longwall.

Mr Kaye said Longwall had prevented an overall loss in Dobson's mining equipment operations. The profit from mining increased in the half-year under review, with the contribution taken as an associated undertaking. Dobson's share of Longwall profits was pounds 1.6m, up from the pounds 1.3m.

Dobson has also lightened its debt burden from pounds 16m to pounds 6.8m during the past 18 months, mostly by selling assets. Mr Kaye said debt might rise because of increased working capital commitments towards the end of the year, but peak gearing would be about 20 per cent.

Earnings per share rose 28 per cent to 2.5p and the dividend was held at 1.2p. Dobson's shares rose 4p yesterday to 79p.