Eventful year leaves Heywood ahead

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HEYWOOD WILLIAMS, the building and automotive products group, celebrated a year of change with a jump in pre-tax profits from pounds 5.5m to pounds 35.2m.

The shares, which have more than doubled in the past 12 months, added 7p to 437p.

During 1993 Heywood disposed of most of its UK glass division to Pilkington for pounds 95m, accounting for pounds 15m of the profits increase. Half the proceeds were spent on La Salle-Deitch, a US supplier of manufactured housing.

Since the year-end, a one- for-four rights issue has raised pounds 52.4m to fund the expansion of the US housing and recreational vehicle operations.

Ralph Hinchliffe, chairman, said that cost reductions and increasing demand from the home improvement sector had boosted the UK aluminium and plastics division.

A 30 per cent increase in sales of automotive replacement glass, thanks to a tightening in windscreen regulations, helped British profits to double to pounds 10.8m.

In the US the acquisition of LaSalle added pounds 3m to operating profits of the Creation Group, which almost doubled. The US contribution to profits rose from pounds 2m to pounds 6.6m.

Earnings per share jumped from 1.7p to 32.9p and a final dividend of 8.5p makes a full year total of 13p (12.5p).