Manufacturing investor Melrose has targeted expansion through acquisitions after beating forecasts thanks to a strong performance from crane, cable and hooks-maker FKI.

For 2009, the firm posted pre-tax profit of £118.6 million, compared with £73.1 million for the previous year.

The Alcester-based firm also said on Wednesday it was seeing signs that recovery may be on the way in western markets.

Chairman Christopher Miller said: “Across the group, sales in our early cycle businesses are now beginning to increase and in our later cycle businesses order books are reviving.”

Melrose told investors it had increased its final dividend 10 per cent to 7.7 pence per share.

Analysts were expecting profit to jump to £110 million pounds, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Melrose’s shares, which have more than tripled in value over the last year, closed on Tuesday at 193 pence.