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Slowdown hits chemicals sales

SHARES IN Albright & Wilson, the specialty chemicals group, fell 10 per cent to a low of 97.5p yesterday after the company reported a 9 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to pounds 27.7m for the six months to 30 June.

Analysts were surprised by signs that slower growth in the US and UK economies is already having an adverse effect on sales in the phosphorous derivatives and acrylics division.

Group turnover rose by 6 per cent to pounds 419m and operating profits rose 1 per cent to pounds 33.6m but interest charges more than doubled to pounds 6m.