Savings lift Vibroplant back into the black

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VIBROPLANT, the plant-hire group, returned to profit in the first half, after its dip into the red in the previous six months.

The company, whose operations are equally divided between the UK and US, made pounds 1.48m in the six months to 30 September. This was pounds 500,000 less than the same period last year, but reversed a second-half loss caused by tight margins and problems at Alphabet, an event-hire company bought in 1992.

Jeremy Pilkington, chairman and chief executive, said the company's recovery had been held back by poor performance in the US.

Pre-tax profits in the UK were up 16 per cent at pounds 1.42m on maintained turnover of pounds 18.7m. But the US contributed just pounds 62,000 on equal turnover.

The improvement in UK profits was due to a smaller depreciation charge and savings from lower debts and interest rates.

Mr Pilkington said US revenues had actually fallen 10 per cent in dollar terms, but the ground was made up on translation into sterling.

The company took dollars 300,000 of costs for rationalisation in the US above the line. It said the second-half figures would include some costs associated with restructuring in the UK.

The interim dividend is maintained at 1.22p on earnings per share of 2.08p (2.93p). The shares fell 10p to 89p.