Druck result down 27%

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WEAK demand, higher overheads and the costs of setting up a Japanese subsidiary contributed to a 27 per cent fall in first-half profits at Druck, the pressure gauge maker, writes Tom Stevenson.

John Salmon, chairman, said the second half was running ahead of last year, however, and Druck's shares added 43p to 913p.

Sales of Druck's electronic pressure measuring devices fell 6 per cent in the first half to pounds 12.7m ( pounds 13.5m), although order books have improved since September.

Mr Salmon said that, with 25 per cent of sales in the US, the recent devaluation of the pound would give the second half a boost. A small number of redundancies and postponed capital expenditure would help profits.

Kleinwort Benson, the house broker, expects full-year profits of pounds 4.5m ( pounds 4.7m). Earnings per share fell 23 per cent to 18p (23.3p) and the interim dividend was maintained at 3.4p net.