Wehmiller ahead but still cautious

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The Independent Online
STRONGER sales to pharmaceutical and personal care customers helped Barry Wehmiller, the packaging and process machinery maker, to stay ahead of the continuing recession in capital goods.

The group increased profits to pounds 7.1m (pounds 6.7m) before tax in the year to 31 July on turnover that rose from pounds 74m to pounds 85m.

Michael Windsor, chairman, painted a gloomy economic background to the group's trading performance. He said that signs of recovery in the high street had yet to feed through to the capital goods sector. Wehmiller also found the US recovery faltering in the second half.

'The sharp slowdown in Europe has also limited opportunities there and has prompted aggressive price competition, especially from German competitors,' he said.

On a positive front, Mr Windsor said that Wehmiller had gained significant contracts in China and the Far East for aerosol machinery and food packaging machines.

'We see this region offering growing opportunities in the coming decade,' he said.

Analysts said the uncertain economic conditions, particularly in Europe, probably meant flat profits at Wehmiller this financial year.

The shares eased 3p to 159p. The final dividend is maintained at 4.3p on earnings per share that rose from 10.7p to 11p.