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Pentland poised for US deal

PENTLAND, which backed out of buying Adidas from Bernard Tapie last year, is close to spending some of its pounds 430m cash pile on a US sports goods company.

The deal could happen next week, the company said yesterday after releasing results for 1992.

Frank Farrant, finance director, declined to give details but said: 'We prefer branded companies where we can bring added value.'

The purchase would come just a month after Pentland paid pounds 7m cash to buy the Berghaus outdoor clothing and equipment group.

Pentland, whose brands include Speedo swimwear and Pony and Kickers shoes, is best known for its past involvement with Reebok, the US sportswear company and ultimately the generator of much of its cash.

Pentland's results, which were always complicated by the Reebok holding, looked even more complex yesterday, with the company fully adopting the incoming FRS3 accounting format. 'We think our exceptionals are fairly extraordinary,' quipped Mr Farrant.

Under existing accounting principles profits moved ahead from pounds 19.6m to pounds 36.3m, but under FRS3 fell from pounds 240m to pounds 83.6m, with previous gains on disposals taken before tax rather than after.

The underlying trading performance was flat. Turnover eased from pounds 340m to pounds 326.5m and operating profits fell from pounds 8.5m to pounds 7.6m. Net interest receivable soared from pounds 6.3m to pounds 26.1m.

The dividend is being lifted from 2.25p to 2.5p.