Uninspired Lamont down 44%

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The Independent Online
LAMONT HOLDINGS, the Northern Irish textiles group, echoed the woes of its namesake in Number 11 Downing Street, seeing its shares dive 65p to 238p on disappointing interim results, writes John Murray.

The company's pre-tax profits fell 44 per cent to pounds 2.1m for the six months to 30 June. Earnings per share halved to 5.61p, but the dividend has been held at 3.5p.

The money was used to buy Alexander Drew, a Rochdale- based fabric-printing business, but its contribution to the interim figures was nominal, as the acquisition came right at the end of the reporting period.

Turnover across the group fell 6 per cent to pounds 52.6m, and the chairman, Sir Desmond Lorimer, said margins had been squeezed. He added that there was no sign of an improvement in trading conditions or an end to the recession.

The carpets division was particularly badly hit, with a 13 per cent fall in turnover. Sir Desmond said measures would be taken to stem the losses at Shaw Carpets, based in Yorkshire. Its managing director, Peter Haworth, resigned in June after less than 12 months at the helm.