Hanson spends pounds 150m on splitting business into four

Hanson yesterday revealed that the bill for splitting the industrial conglomerate into four parts would amount to pounds 150m, but said the cost had fallen from an estimate made in August. Listing documents sent out in the summer with details of the demerger of Imperial Tobacco and Millennium Chemicals gave an expected figure of pounds 95m for the four-way split.

Yesterday, the group said the total cost would be pounds 150m, of which pounds 78m related to fees and other charges relating to the transfer of bonds to the new companies. Christopher Collins, executive vice-chairman, said the pounds 72m which directly related to the demerger was lower than the original estimate. Hanson said professional fees accounted for around a third of that figure. Imperial Tobacco yesterday revealed that the cost of its demerger had been pounds 7m.

The news came as Hanson announced record profits of pounds 1.81m for its last year before the break-up. Lord Hanson has announced his intention to step down as chairman next year. He described the share price performance over the past year as "very disappointing".

The figures were boosted from a prior year figure of pounds 1.23bn by pounds 633m of gains on the conglomerate's pounds 2.1bn disposal programme announced a year ago, which the chief executive, Derek Bonham, said had exceeded expectations in half the expected time.

There was also a pounds 193m release of provisions from a charge set up to pay clean-up costs of chemically contaminated land in the US following its acquisition of the Beazer building and aggregates group in 1991. Hanson said the cut in provisions came after it had established better remediation procedures.

Investment column and Imperial results, page 26

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