Triplex in pounds 6.5m disposal: Building materials offshoot sold as part of refocusing operation

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The Independent Online
THE LONG-RUNNING corporate refocusing at Triplex Lloyd, the Birmingham engineer, continued yesterday with the disposal of Hillaldam Coburn, a building materials concern.

Triplex has raised pounds 6.5m from the sale, which will be used to reduce borrowings. JBS Industries, a private company, is the buyer.

John Foley, managing director, said: 'This disposal is further evidence of our intention to sell businesses which are no longer regarded as part of our core operations.'

He did not detail the exact effect of the disposal on debt, but he said the deal put the company on course to meet its year-end target of having gearing less than 40 per cent, equivalent to debt of pounds 22m.

The pounds 6.5m sale price compares with net assets of pounds 4.3m. In the year to 31 March last year the businesses sold - which include Hillaldam Coburn (Ireland) and two others called Solair and Nico - made combined profits of pounds 500,000 on turnover of pounds 11.3m.

Trouble at another of Triplex's building products companies led to an 11 per cent fall in the share price in December. It dropped to 128p after the company said its Hinchcliffe curtain walling subsidiary lost pounds 2.3m in the six months to last September. The loss meant overall pre- tax profits for that period fell 56 per cent from pounds 3.3m to pounds 1.45m.

The company has spent the past two years reshaping itself. It tapped shareholders for pounds 17m in a rights issue 12 months ago.

Building products are viewed as the poor relation of the group. It sees most promise in its businesses that design and make vanes for aero engines and gas turbines.

Triplex has invested heavily in this division on new plant and equipment.

The company also makes components for the automotive industry and a wide range of engineering goods, most of which command only a narrow profit margin.

The shares were unchanged yesterday at 155p, having climbed back above the rights issue price of 140p since the December profits shock.