Kunick takes comfort in French results

Click to follow
KUNICK, the fruit machines and care homes group, has passed its interim dividend but remains confident of a year-end payout.

The company almost folded 18 months ago and has not paid a dividend since 1991, but analysts said yesterday's better half-time results suggested the chairman, Christopher Burnett, was getting to grips with the business.

Pre-tax profits in the six months to 31 March of pounds 5m, against pounds 2m, included a pounds 1.9m exceptional gain from the flotation of Goldsborough Healthcare, the business that caused Kunick problems when it diversified into nursing homes. Net cash stands at pounds 9.8m, and sheltered housing properties with a book value of pounds 2.8m are being sold.

Improved efficiencies in the amusement machines business meant operating profits rose, despite turnover remaining static. But Mr Burnett said there was little sign of spending in pubs rising.

The year started well in France, but profits fell back because a new line of pinball machines failed to take off. Kunick's four French care homes saw a 54 per cent rise in operating profit to pounds 522,000 after occupancy rose to 97 per cent.

Net assets rose from pounds 51.4m to pounds 57.6m, and of this increase the disposal of Goldsborough contributed pounds 5.3m after writing back to reserves pounds 3.4m of goodwill previously written off. The shares were unchanged at 16.5p.