Investment Column: Triplex bubbly in flat Midlands

If a Government-backed report published yesterday is to be believed the West Midlands is failing the UK when it comes to manufacturing productivity, investment and competitiveness.

Colin Cooke, non-executive director of Triplex Lloyd, one of the region's best-known metal bashers, disagrees. "Mr Heseltine would be proud of us," he claimed yesterday. His boast is not an idle one. In the year to March 1996 profits on continuing operations rose to pounds 15.4m from pounds 10.7m, helped by a pounds 1.7m property gain, on sales 8 per cent higher at pounds 190m.

Stripping out a pounds 3.9m one-off loss related to the disposal of the remaining building products division, the pre-tax figure was 14 per cent up at pounds 9.5m. The dividend was held at 7p, covered by earnings per share of 10.4p.

With a core competence in castings, Triplex is benefiting from exposure to late cycle sectors, especially in power engineering, which supplies the likes of ABB, Siemens and Westinghouse. Its return on sales jumped from 6.3 per cent to 8.5 per cent and at one power company, Paralloy, sales rose by more than 50 per cent. Small wonder Mr Cooke is confident that double-digit margins will be achieved in this division later this year.

The picture is more mixed on the automotive side. An increased pension charge and maintenance problems at the Precision Components subsidiary restricted the improvement in margins to 5.8 per cent from 5.6 per cent. However, demand for diesel engine components is strengthening and Triplex seems set fair to meet brokers' forecasts of pounds 14m-pounds 15m pre-tax for the full year.

At the higher end of expectations the shares, up 12p to 173p, stand on a prospective p/e of 10. The quality of earnings is unlikely to be enhanced if more property profits are booked, but the rating still looks a little mean.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (Freelance) : Guru Careers: An Investment Writer / Stock Picker is...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue