Evode banks on strength abroad

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The Independent Online
STRONG performances from Evode's North American and Italian operations helped to lift interim pre-tax profits by 27 per cent to pounds 3.8m at the plastics, polymers and coatings company.

At the half-way stage in 1991, pre-tax profits plunged 58 per cent to pounds 3m from pounds 7.2m, and operating profits 38 per cent to pounds 6.5m. In the period to March 1992, however, operating profits rose by pounds 200,000 after net group costs of pounds 400,000. Half of Evode's pounds 141.9m turnover now comes from overseas.

'The industrial base is as dead in the UK as anywhere else,' David Winterbottom, chief executive, said. 'But our geographical spread has been vindicated and I'm feeling fairly bullish about our overseas companies.

'At the moment 55 per cent of turnover is overseas and 65 per cent of profits.'

The adhesives and sealants division suffered from reduced industrial demand, although it gained market share in the DIY and builders' merchants sectors. Worse hit was industrial coatings, where operating profits fell 83 per cent to pounds 200,000.

'As a producer of architectural coatings we are feeling the pinch,' Mr Winterbottom said. 'We will continue to do so until business confidence makes renovation and refurbishment acceptable again.'

Evode sold its shoe components business for pounds 11.9m in May. Before the disposal its gearing was 79 per cent and borrowings pounds 45.8m. It hopes to reduce gearing to between 60 and 70 per cent at the year-end.

The dividend has been maintained at 1.78p. Fully diluted earnings per share jumped 46 per cent to 1.9p. Yesterday the shares closed up 4p at 63p.