Life Sciences on way back after poor year

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The Independent Online
LIFE Sciences International, Sir Christopher Bland's other company, has made a strong start to the year after a difficult 1993, writes Paul Durman.

The laboratory equipment maker headed by the LWT chairman would have suffered a profits setback last year but for a strong contribution from Labsystems, the Finnish company bought last June. Labsystems made pounds 5.1m out of total pre-tax profits of pounds 23m, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year.

Sir Christopher said the US, which accounts for more than half of Life Sciences' pounds 154m of sales, was very flat last year ahead of Hillary Clinton's healthcare reforms. But it had a strong January and February. The health reforms were 'going to mean less than (was) feared'.

The company has made a provision of about pounds 800,000 after losing a patent infringement lawsuit dating from 1985. It has written off a similar amount against Shandon's demonstration equipment.

Sir Christopher hoped Labsystems would enable the group to establish itself in the important Japanese market. Life Sciences has parted company with Donald Cameron, whom it recruited 18 months ago to try to build up Japanese sales.

Earnings per share rose 3 per cent to 9.4p. A final dividend of 2.5p lifts the total 10 per cent to 3.9p.