Analysts speculated that Carclo was involved in legal action about a contract that had gone wrong, but said it should not overshadow what was otherwise a good result. David Adam, finance director, said: 'I do not want to answer your questions or comment on it. I do not want to go any further.'
The group's pre-tax profits in the six months to 30 September rose 41 per cent to pounds 5.2m. Shares improved 6p to 293p on the back of a confident statement about current trading. Order books in the last three months were higher than for the same period last year, though margins were under pressure.
The results were given an unexpected boost from Arthur Lee, bought in June, whose operating profits more than doubled to pounds 3.3m, largely thanks to increased productivity at its steel mill.