Halma reports record advance: Group's strategy of organic growth helps to offset effects of recession

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The Independent Online
DAVID BARBER celebrated his 21st year in charge of Halma, the safety and environmental technology group, with a record 47 per cent profits rise.

The group made pounds 20.9m before tax in the year to 3 April on turnover 23 per cent higher at pounds 116m. The total dividend rises 20 per cent to 2.63p on earnings 43 per cent ahead at 9.93p.

The figures again confirmed Halma's reputation as one of the long- term stars of the stock market. Its earnings have grown at an average compound rate of 26.9 per cent a year since 1972-73, and pounds 10,000 invested in its shares in 1976 would be worth almost pounds 3m today.

Mr Barber, who has chaired the group since 1972, said the results reflected exceptionally good performance in the second half.

'We had a very good performance in the US and we benefited significantly from the devaluation of sterling,' he said.

Halma's strategy of organic growth and small technically based acquisitions had won through despite recession. 'We have done well despite there being not much evidence of recession lifting,' Mr Barber added.

'But we are not immune from recession and a number of our companies have been adversely affected. However, special circumstances, such as regulatory pressure, help our companies in the safety and environmental industries.'

The eight acquisitions made by Halma in the 15 months to March were performing well. 'They tend to add to things we already have, and we are pretty content with our formula of going forward primarily through organic growth rather than making big acquisitions in other sectors,' he said.

The company also announced a one-for-three scrip issue yesterday, continuing a pattern of scrips in alternate years started in 1978. The shares closed 8p higher at 256p.

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