Hepworth buys Dutch businesses

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HEPWORTH, the building products group, is expanding its European gas boilers business with the acquisition of two businesses for pounds 10.2m, writes Neil Thapar.

The company is financing the deals with a pounds 24m share placing at 249p a share. The remainder of its new funds will be used to make further acquisitions.

Hepworth is forecasting a maintained final dividend of 9.35p this year, and says earnings are expected to be higher than in 1991 despite exceptional costs.

The group is acquiring AWB and certain assets of Kiddy (both Dutch companies), boosting its market share in the Netherlands and providing access to new technology. The businesses are expected to enhance Hepworth's earnings in their first year, although the group sees little evidence of economic recovery in its principal markets.