Vinten pays £70m for German firm

BY JOHN SHEPHERD

Vinten is expanding its international operations by paying £70.6m for Sachtler, a German maker and distributor of camera supports, lighting equipment and suspension systems to broadcast and film markets.

The deal comes a week after Vinten paid $13.7m (£8.7m) for Berc, a Californian company. Vinten also makes and distributes broadcast, photographic and surveillance equipment in Italy and France.

Malcolm Baggott, chief executive, said Sachtler would significantly increase the scale of group operations.

Vinten also yesterday announced a 37 per cent rise in underlying annual pre-tax profits from £14.6m to £20.1m for 1994. Earnings per share rose 31 per cent to 40.2p, comfortably covering a total dividend of 9p, up from 7.8p.

In the year to last June, Sachtler reported a recovery in pre-interest profits from DM5.7m (£.2.5m) to DM12.5m. The result for 1992/93 was depressed by "initial teething" problems from a move to a larger factory in Munich.

About £33m of the cost of buying Sachtler, which has almost £12m of debts, will come from a placing and open offer of Vinten shares.

The open offer is on the basis of one-for-six at 490p per share, the price of which rose 5p to 511p yesterday. Remaining purchase funds will come from existing banking facilities.

In 1994, the photographic businesses lifted trading profits 40 per cent to £11.9m on sales of £44.9m, up from £37.5m. Profits from the broadcast business also improved from £4.49m to £6.5m, but the contribution from the surveillance side dipped from £2.9m to £2.3m.

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