Optimistic noises from Goode Durrant

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The Independent Online
GOODE DURRANT, the mini-conglomerate, said yesterday there were signs of a pick-up in activity as it revealed a 46 per cent decline in pre-tax profits to pounds 1.8m for the six months to 31 October, writes John Murray.

Michael Waring, chief executive of the car-dealing-to- housebuilding group, said: 'There are very tentative indications that things may be ever so slightly better. January began well, but we have to be careful that it is not just pent-up demand. If confidence returns it is possible to see a rejuvenation in the motor business from August.'

Group turnover fell from pounds 97.8m to pounds 90.6m, but profits rose in the commercial vehicle hire division. Housebuilding, motor distribution and equipment hire were weaker performers.

The interim dividend is maintained at 2.15p on earnings down to 2.3p (3.5p). The shares closed a penny higher at 76p.

Mr Waring said the board had had 'informal contact without malice' with Winnedael, which has 25 per cent of Goode. The investment vehicle, owned by the South African Nash family, has been critical of the management's performance in the past.