On the up: Hanson

SHARES IN Hanson rose 13 per cent after the UK's second-largest concrete and aggregates producer said its 1998 second-half profit rose 18 per cent as it expanded through acquisitions in the US and as sales rose. Pre-tax profit for the full year of 1998 was pounds 265m, up from pounds 224m in 1997.

Hanson draws most of its income from the US, where it has been purchasing small and medium-sized companies that fit with its existing businesses.

Its US sales have been strong because of a robust economy and the signing of a 1998 infrastructure law that guarantees spending on construction projects in the US for the next six years.

Demand levels in the UK and continental Europe remain a concern.