Warm winter halves Anglo United profits

A MILD winter has led to near- halved taxable profits at Anglo United, the coal mining and fuels group, writes Neil Thapar.

Pre-tax profits slumped from pounds 15.8m to pounds 8.3m for the year to 31 March. Earnings have plunged from 5.1p to 1.9p, and the total dividend is 47 per cent lower at 0.85p. The result was in line with City expectations.

The company, which has ambitions to take over British Coal, said the downturn stemmed from an unusually warm winter, which led to an estimated pounds 15m shortfall in profits last year.

Anglo's smokeless fuels business - acquired with the pounds 478m takeover of Coalite three years ago - maintained trading profits at pounds 21.6m, but the result was about pounds 6m below budget.

The liquid fuel and chemicals division was also affected by the mild conditions and the recession. Trading profits were nearly halved to pounds 9m. The contribution from other activities fell from pounds 8.2m to pounds 4.8m.

Interest costs were slashed by pounds 10m to pounds 32.7m. The company was helped by exceptional profits of pounds 5.3m, while a pounds 3.5m loss on the disposal of some loss-making businesses was taken below the line.

Net debts fell from pounds 233m to pounds 211m. The company hopes to raise pounds 100m from disposals this year.

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