Midlands-based international quarrying and building products group Ennstone (ENN) produced a strong trading performance in the first half of the year despite being badly hit by the downturn in the US and UK housing markets.
The company, led by executive chairman Vaughan McLeod, announced a pre-tax profit of £5.7 million in the six months to June 30 on revenue 19 per cent higher at £134.2 million.
The profit figure compared with a same basis loss of £72,000 in the same period last year, a figure that took into account reorganisation, redundancy and impairment costs.
Continuing earnings per share fell by 12 per cent to 0.85p in the first half of the current year and Ennstone has cut the interim dividend by more than half to 0.23p a share. Shares in the Derby-based group fell by five per cent to 15p.
Mr McLeod, said: “While we remain confident about the fundamental strength of the group’s operations, its market position and its competitiveness, the continuing difficult trading conditions in the US and the sharp downturn in the UK makes the short to medium term outlook uncertain and the group expects a further period of challenging operating conditions.”
The company said its first half underlying pretax profit stood at £5.7 million compared with £5.2 million last year, while the underlying operating profit rose to £12.10 million compared with £10.51 million last time.
The acquisitive company, which has operations in Poland as well as the UK and US, has been boosted by a recent £73 million rise in the estimated value of its UK minerals and minerals-bearing land holdings.
It said that it believed the combination of strong positions in key regional markets, particularly in the UK and Poland, andits strategy of leveraging real asset value growth, together with a review of balance sheet initiatives, will enable it to weather the tough economic climate and to emerge in a strong position.
“The group’s trading performance in the first half of 2008 was strong, despite the downturn in the US housing market continuing to have an impact on the performance of our US operations,” said Mr McLeod.