TI raises dividend as interims beat forecasts: Engineer's core businesses all increase market share

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The Independent Online
TI GROUP, the tubing, seals and aerospace engineer, beat market expectations with an 11 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 69.8m, pushing its shares up 7p to 412p and prompting analysts to raise profit forecasts for this year and next.

Sir Christopher Lewinton, chairman, said that the company's three core businesses had all increased market share. Sales by continuing businesses rose 5 per cent to pounds 723m and profit before tax, excluding the effect of currency changes, was 20 per cent higher.

Average group operating margins rose by 1.3 points to 10.6 per cent, largely reflecting cost-efficiency programmes begun in 1993, particularly at Dowty, acquired in 1992, which generated significant cost savings across the group.

An emphasis on cash management yielded surplus cash flow of pounds 14.5m, which, added to the proceeds of property sales and a pounds 13.5m gain from exchange rate changes, reduced TI's debt by pounds 45.2m to pounds 136.3m. Gearing dropped from 63 per cent at the end of 1993 to 42 per cent at 30 June.

The interim dividend has been increased 5 per cent to 4.05p.

Sandy Morris, of NatWest Securities, said that he was lifting his forecast for TI's pre-tax profits from pounds 135m to pounds 145.5m for 1994 because of the better than expected half-time figures.

John Crane, which supplies engineered seals, raised sales by 8 per cent to pounds 247m and lifted operating profits by pounds 4.3m to pounds 34.6m. At constant exchange rates first-half sales grew 10 per cent and operating profits 10 per cent.

Polymer Products, acquired with Dowty, made a marked contribution to the better profits while market conditions have gradually improved among its principal chemical and petrochemcial customers and the European compressor industry.

Bundy, the tubing division, saw sales increase by 8 per cent to pounds 24.9m, but operating profits rose 21 per cent to pounds 28.9m; the gain was 26 per cent excluding currencies.

All the growth came from automotive markets, where Bundy's sales outstripped the buoyant North American market and outperformed a flat European industry that showed signs of recovery towards the end of the first half.

A heavily restructured Dowty Aerospace division generated a 60 per cent jump in operating profits to pounds 13.6m on sales 5 per cent lower at pounds 149.8m.

Tony Edwards, managing director, said that civil spares demand rose by 20 per cent but a recovery in aircaft orders was not expected until 1996.

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