Johnson Fry back in profit after loss of BES activity

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JOHNSON FRY, the reconstructed financial adviser and property manager, formerly known as LIT Holdings, has returned to profit, writes Robert Cole.

The company, which fell into loss after selling its US side, made a pre-tax profit of pounds 2.3m in the six months to 30 June, compared with losses of pounds 21m a year earlier.

The company was best known for sponsoring companies that raised capital under the Business Expansion Scheme.

Charles Fry, chief executive, said: 'Comparisons with 1993 are meaningless.' He said the group has changed beyond recognition because the BES programme was withdrawn by the Government. Closure of the American businesses also clouded the picture.

In the first half of 1993 Johnson made pounds 9m from BES activities. The figure this time was pounds 330,000. Many of the BES companies invested in residential housing, and Johnson clawed back some of the lost income by managing the properties. It made pounds 3.3m in the half- year, compared with pounds 494,000.

Johnson is also trying to develop new financial products. It raised pounds 20m for an investment vehicle aimed at French privatisations and pounds 21m for property acquisitions in UK Enterprise Zones.

The company did not pay a dividend. Mr Fry said: 'We may make a payment at the end of the year, but after the capital reorganisation we thought it was inappropriate to do anything at the interim stage.'

The shares lost 6p to 204p.

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