Tunstall to expand European activities

TUNSTALL, the communications and security group, is to expand its European operations through a series of acquisitions and joint ventures, writes Russell Hotten.

The company revealed the plans yesterday after announcing a 21 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to pounds 5.3m in the year to 30 September. Turnover rose 9 per cent to pounds 40.5m.

Tunstall, which has 20 per cent of its sales overseas, supplies alarms and security products to hospitals and sheltered housing. But it does none of the highly profitable installation or maintenance work on the Continent. The company plans strategic investments in service companies, starting with Spain, Italy and France.

In the UK, Tunstall is awaiting a potential boost in business should the Government's 'care in the community' programme begin as planned in April. Tunstall is the market leader in the provision of emergency communications equipment for the elderly, and the division has spent pounds 2m developing new products.

Profits at the German division, bought in 1991 for pounds 3.3m, were on target for the year at pounds 500,000, Michael Dawson, Tunstall's chairman, said. In July Tunstall disposed of Tunstall Security and Tann-Synchronne for pounds 1.2m, but wrote off about pounds 1m on the sale.

A final dividend of 3.75p makes 6p for the year, a 12 per cent rise. Earnings were up 24 per cent to 21.6p. Shares rose 10p to 309p.