The two-for-nine issue will fund working capital on phase two of the huge Atomic Weapons Establishment management contract won by a Hunting-led consortium in February. The Ministry of Defence will not allow the company to reveal the contract's size but analysts estimate it is worth pounds 200m to pounds 250m of turnover a year.
Ken Miller, chief executive, predicted year-end gearing of 50 per cent. He emphasised that the group could have funded the AWE project's working capital without breaking banking covenants.
The dividend is maintained at 10p. The shares lost 8p to close at 230p.
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