German copper lifts IMI

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The Independent Online
STRONG demand for copper pipes in eastern Germany was behind a 20 per cent improvement in profits at IMI. The metals processor has benefited from the wholesale replacement of plumbing systems in run-down residential housing estates there, writes Robert Cole.

The German contribution helped it to increase operating profits to pounds 48.7m from pounds 40.6m for the six months to 30 June. At the pre-tax level, however, profits growth was depressed by pounds 8m of losses incurred in Redwood International, IMI's computer programming subsidiary sold in July. Overall taxable profit rose 4 per cent to pounds 37m.

IMI has increased its dividend for the first time in four years. The interim payment is 5 per cent up at 4.4p. Gary Allen, chief executive, said the increase indicated management's confidence.

Earnings per share grew 6 per cent to 7.3p. Shares, up from 290p in July, fell back 11p to 325p yesterday.