The Investment Column: Low & Bonar

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The Independent Online
INVESTORS SHOULDN'T feel too sorry for Phil Reeder, the new broom at Low & Bonar, the packager. True, the shares dived again after yesterday's negative trading statement. But with expectations so low, Mr Reeder will have to work hard to disappoint. Moreover, the company's results in February look set to be overshadowed by details of a root-and-branch restructuring.

The group could jettison two of the three divisions currently not up for sale, leaving it focused on one of cereal packets, plastic mouldings - featured in tractor cabins - or specialist materials. Combining Lo'n'Bo's fragmented European operations would make it more competitive in currently weak markets and insulate it from high raw material prices. Analysts forecast pounds 31m pre-tax profits and 22p earnings per share, making the shares, down at 12p at 146.5p, a good value play on recovery.