Market knocks Charter

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The Independent Online
CHARTER, the successor to Charter Consolidated, saw its shares fall 12p to 719p despite results in line with market expectations, writes Alison Eadie.

Pre-tax profits in the half-year to the end of September were pounds 31.3m against pounds 37.9m. Last year's figure included a contribution from a 38.3 per cent stake in Johnson Matthey, which was sold in March. Operating profits on continuing operations rose 5 per cent to pounds 19.5m. The dividend was unchanged at 7p.

Completion of the buy-in of Minorco's 36 per cent stake leaves the company free to pursue acquisitions. Jeffrey Herbert, chief executive, said the search was on for a fourth leg to strengthen Charter's position as an international manufacturer of industrial and engineering product. The war chest swelled to pounds 147m net cash at the half-way stage. Mr Herbert added that market conditions had not improved.

Pandrol, the rail track equipment subsidiary, increased profits 22 per cent to pounds 8.2m, largely due to rising exports of fastening systems.

Charter's full-year profits are expected to be about pounds 50m.