Southern Bear, the Warwickshire-based industrial holding company, has sold off all its engineering subsidiaries to focus on more profitable markets.

It told the stock exchange it had agreed to dispose of Phoenix Dynamics, Tarvail, Tarvail Design, Towerinput and Towerinput Distribution. The subsidiaries have ended up in the hands of former Southern Bear board members.

The board of the Leamington firm said it would now be focusing on support services and fire prevention markets, which they said held better opportunities for investors and would let them cut back on overheads.

Southern Bear chairman Nigel Wray said: "The markets in which the support services businesses operate have been relatively insulated from the challenges in the wider economy. The disposal of the engineering operations will enable the group to continue its positive progress and to ensure it remains well placed to fully capitalise on the opportunities that may arise in our core markets."

Mr Wray replaces Jon Pither, who left Southern Bear to become involved in the newly-independent companies.