Helical Bar returns to profit after property sale

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The Independent Online
THE SALE of an industrial development at Aycliffe, Co Durham helped Helical Bar, the property investment company, to return to profit in the six months to 31 July, writes Rupert Bruce.

After a profit of about pounds 1m on the sale, Helical made a pre-tax profit of pounds 536,000 on turnover of pounds 15.03m. That is up from a loss of pounds 694,000 on turnover of pounds 21.03m in the corresponding period.

Mike Slade, managing director, said the company also benefited from the absence of further provisions at its development in City Road, London. He is hoping to recover some costs from a sub-contractor in the French courts.

Helical sold more than pounds 14m of property in the six months, reducing net borrowing to pounds 87m, down from pounds 120m. Gearing is approximately 170 per cent.

Earnings per share rose to 6.1p (0.2p). The interim dividend is maintained at 2.4p.

Some pounds 4m of property sales have been made since the end of July, further reducing debt.

Following yesterday's interest rate rise, Mr Slade said Helical was going to need 'a bit of luck' if it was to meet its target for 1992 of reducing gearing to 100 per cent.

The shares fell 7p to 71p.