Profits rise boosts Metal Bulletin

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Metal Bulletin, the specialist publisher already the centre of bid speculation, hit an all-time high after it announced a 21.6 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 711,600, writes Elizabeth Heathcote.

A 12.5 per cent dividend increase to 2.7p for the period to 30 June reflected a strong performance from conference organisation and the specialist futures market journals. Profits at the flagship Metal Bulletin and associated publications, which still account for 60 per cent of turnover, remained static.

A 20 per cent stake held for more than a year by Emap, whose publications range from Smash Hits to Middle East Economic Digest, has kept the share price buoyant on speculation of an eventual bid. Trevor Tarring, chief executive, said the company was on 'friendly' terms with Emap and was relaxed about the threat.

Analysts' estimates for the full year have been upped slightly to pounds 1.85m. The shares ended 4p higher at 222p.