Jump in sales adds 40 per cent to Low

Shares in Low & Bonar, the Dundee packaging group, leapt 27p to 408p yesterday as the company said pre-tax profits jumped by 40 per cent to £44.1m in the year to 30 November. Sales rose 14 per cent to £420.9m.

Jim Leng, who has transformed the group since joining as chief executive in 1992, said that despite rising raw material costs, the group was well placed for continued growth.

Sales were helped by continental Europe emerging from recession. European packaging and plastic both performed strongly, with specialist materials helped by export sales.

In the United States, the Bonar packaging and plastics business made progress and the Twinpack industrial packaging acquisition was now fully integrated, the company said .

Currency fluctuations, which wiped £500,00 at the half year, reduced sales and profits by 2 per cent. Interest charges fell from £3.4m to £2.3m, reflecting strong cash flow.

Mr Leng has whittled a mini conglomerate of eight divisions down to just three. Since 1992, he has launched a £50m rights issue, bought Kellogg's European packaging business and rigorously cut costs. The company's client list now include Kellogg's Birds Eye, Gillette and Colgate.

Mr Leng said the company was pleased with its progress in 1994. "We remain well positioned for continued growth, with our strong market positions, a balanced business portfolio and continental Europe now growing."

Earnings per share increased by 38 per cent to 30.06p and the full-year dividend was increased from 10p to 11.5p.

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