Menvier buys Nugelec for pounds 10m

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MENVIER-SWAIN, the emergency lighting and safety alarm group, took another step into Europe yesterday with the acquisition of Nugelec, a Lyons-based fire alarm manufacturer. The pounds 10.6m price-tag will be largely met by a one-for-eight rights issue to raise pounds 9m.

The chairman, Roy McDowell, said: 'This is another step towards our objective of European market leadership in both emergency lighting and fire alarm systems.'

Menvier already owns a lighting business in France, Luminox, and within the past six months has made small acquisitions in Italy and Germany. 'We are having a bit of a breather now to integrate our recent purchases and don't expect to make any more acquisitions during the next year or so,' Mr McDowell said.

Menvier's shares slipped 2p yesterday to 603p as the group also announced a 16 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the six months to October to pounds 3.2m. Sales were 27 per cent higher at pounds 25m, earnings per share added 12 per cent to 14.9p and there is a dividend of 3.3p, a 22 per cent improvement.

'We are still waiting for an upturn in the UK but growing contributions from our overseas subsidiaries have protected us,' Mr McDowell said.

For the first time, profits from Continental Europe of pounds 1.8m exceeded those in the UK, which fell 11 per cent to pounds 1.5m. Big emergency lighting systems suffered from a decline in new commercial building but safety directives from Brussels ensured good demand for refurbishment work.

Last year Nugelec made pre-tax profits of Fr18m ( pounds 2.3m) from sales of Fr50.6m ( pounds 6.6m), a 42 per cent increase on the previous year.