Fairey remains bullish

RUSSELL HOTTEN

Fairey Group, the specialist electronics and engineering company, remained bullish about its prospects in 1996 despite warning yesterday that the general economic environment was getting worse.

The company, which reported pre-tax profits up 33 per cent, said it would be protected against any economic slowdown by its expansion in Asian and American markets.

In January Fairey, chaired by BICC's Sir Robin Biggam, paid pounds 50m for Particle Measuring Systems, a US high-tech company that makes instruments for the microchip industry to detect contamination.

Pre-tax profits in the year to 31 December rose from pounds 25.8m to pounds 34.2m, on sales up 35 per cent to pounds 196.3m, bang in line with City expectations. Sir Robin said: "The combination of organic growth and development by acquisition has again enabled Fairey to move forward in a very positive way. These figures reflect an improvement in all business sectors."

Earnings were up 20 per cent to 27.4p. More than 50 per cent of that growth came from the acquisition of Measuring Systems and of Loma, a private detection equipment company bought last year for pounds 18.5m. Both Measuring Systems and Loma were performing in line with expectations, Sir Robin said.

Adjusting for acquisitions and movements in advances, underlying cash generation was pounds 8.4m. Fairey is paying a final dividend of 5.45p (4.75p), making a total of 8p (7p) for the year, an increase of 14 per cent.

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