Hanson makes US disposal

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The Independent Online
HANSON, whose chief executive, Derek Bonham, has given the go-ahead to raise more than pounds 500m from the sale of non-core businesses, is selling its Texas oil services operation, Axelson, for pounds 56m, writes Jason Nisse.

The buyer is Wheatley TXT, an oilfield services group quoted on the US stock markets.

Axelson was bought as part of the US Industries acquisition in 1984 and was valued in Hanson's books at pounds 14m. In the year to 30 September it made pounds 6m profit. Hanson has signalled that it is looking at ways of bringing down its borrowings, which were pushed up to pounds 3.5bn after last summer's acquisition of the heavily borrowed Quantum Chemical Company in the US.

Hanson is now looking towards the strong US stock markets to see whether it might float some of its US businesses. It is also talking to Electra, the venture capital group, about possible buyouts of British- based companies worth up to pounds 90m.