IN BRIEF

Business News In Brief

Graystone directors depart

Graystone plc said that Colin Davies, the finance director, and the executive director Patrick Fox, have resigned after notifying the board of their interest in acquiring certain of the group's engineering businesses. Graystone said it was also in negotiations with other interested parties regarding the possible sale of these group companies.

Sleepy Kids warns of sales slump

Sleepy Kids, which owns the rights to Budgie the Helicopter, said that it expected first-half sales to be significantly lower than last year. Martin Powell, chairman, told the group's annual meeting that the board was "exploring ways of adding shareholder value to the group" and is "actively seeking strategic alliances" in the media and related sectors. He said that, if appropriate, the group would raise external money to invest in new projects. The group's shares fell 0.5p to 16p.

Perkins Foods shows first-quarter progress

Perkins Foods has had an encouraging start to the year, according to the company's chairman, Michael Davies. Speaking at the annual general meeting, Mr Davies said pre-tax profits for the first four months of this year were ahead of last year. Frozen foods were making good progress and fresh produce were experiencing strong trading, he claimed.

Growth for Jackson Group order book

Jackson Group is optimistic that its construcion unit will achieve significant sales growth this year. Peter Green, chairman, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting that the order book for the construction division during the first four months of the year suggested that "significant turnover growth would be achieved in the year, with some margin improvement". However, the engineering division continued to experience pressures on margin and turnover.

Bridon meets challenge of strong sterling

Bridon, the engineering company, said that it was performing at better levels than in at the same point last year, despite the strength of sterling. At the group's annual meeting yesterday, Brian Clayton, chairman, said: "We have seen improved order books in our manufactured products businesses, both for wire and wire rope and all of them are performing ahead of last year." Mr Clayton said the company had won a contract to supply wire for the Jiangyin bridge in China, but said that performance at its UK Certex business remained poor. The group's share price rose 2p to 101p.

Graseby chief executive quits

Electronics group Graseby yesterday announced the resignation of its chief executive Paul Lester. Mr Lester is leaving the company on 30 June to join the construction group Balfour Beatty, part of BICC, as managing director. At its annual meeting the company said that group sales in the first quarter of the year were 16 per cent ahead. This came largely from organic growth in the medical business, which benefited from the infusion therapy acquisition made last July. Graseby's shares rose 6p to 157.5p.

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