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Charter, the railway ties to welding products group, is ready to spend between pounds 100m and pounds 500m to add a new leg to the business. Jeffrey Herbert, chief executive, said it had looked at around 20 businesses over the past 12 months, two or three seriously, but none had met its criteria. Any new business must be industrial, have an international presence and lead the market in its sector, Charter said. A "corporate orphan, unloved and unwanted ... lurking at the bottom of a massive Euro-conglomerate" would be ideal. Charter reported all its businesses were on target in the first two months of the year, as it announced that the acquisition of Esab in 1994 had sent profits soaring to pounds 97.5m last year.

Investment column, page 22