Greenbank contains costs

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The Independent Online
WALKER Greenbank, the commercial wallcovering group, yesterday provided the first benefits of its year-long restructuring with a near-6 per cent improvement in the first half, writes Neil Thapar.

Taxable profits rose from pounds 2.7m to pounds 2.8m for the period to 31 July on sales marginally lower at pounds 29.5m. Earnings per share nudged ahead almost 3 per cent to 2.1p, and the interim payout has been maintained at 1.2p.

The result marks a sharp turnaround since Greenbank ran into problems, including alleged fraud at Alkar International, the shopfitting company acquired for pounds 3.5m about five years ago.

Operating profits improved 13 per cent to pounds 3.1m, thanks to a first- time contribution from Harlequin, a German distributor, and tight cost control.

The company was also helped by a pounds 91,000 exceptional surplus after pounds 403,000 closure costs were more than offset by a profit on disposal of property assets. However, Greenbank has taken almost pounds 500,000 costs relating largely to a legal action.

The proceedings, which began in the High Court this month, are in connection with the Alkar purchase. The defendants are Alkar's former vendors.

In addition, the group is suing accountants Arthur Young over alleged negligence. The hearing is expected to continue for several weeks.