Shanks' services in demand

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Rising demand and higher prices for waste management services drove pre-tax profits up 16 per cent at Shanks & McEwan, before exceptionals, to pounds 16.3m for the year to 1 April.

However, the strong showing by waste management was offset by a poor performance from the group's hazardous-chemical treatment business, Rechem, which made an operating loss of pounds 388,000, against a pounds 4.9m profit in the previous year.

Turnover was pounds 114m against pounds 105m last time. There was an exceptional charge for a pounds 1.8m loss on the sale of the company's construction subsidiary.

Michael Averill, group chief executive, said Rechem had suffered from the Government's refusal to permit the import of hazardous waste for treatment in Britain. He said the consequent spare capacity could be utilised if UK rules for the treatment of hazardous waste were brought into line with those of other EU countries.

Earnings per share were 5.9p, up from 4.1p. The total dividend for the year is 3.3p, up from 3.24p. The share price closed 1p down at 95p.