Titan Europe, the multinational maker of off-road wheels and tyres with headquarters at Cookley, Worcestershire, reported a bumper start to 2005 yesterday arising only partly from a comparison with the fast-rising steel prices of early 2004.
Titan succeeded in passing these on to its customers, but only later in the year.
So a half-time profit of £6.1 million indicated in a trading update yesterday was nearly 70 per cent ahead of that for the first six months of last year. Sales were up 29 per cent at £70.48 million.
The dividend will be declared with the formal interim result in late August. Yesterday the shares jumped 81/2p to a 12-month high of 241p.
"Trading during the first half of 2005 continued the strong trend of 2004," said Mike Akers, chief executive.
"Our manufacturing operations have worked extremely hard to overcome the earlier impact of shortened lead times created by steel supply difficulties combined with the high and sometimes unpredictable levels of customer demand.
"Some of this unpredictability has now abated and we expect to see a more normal manufacturing flow."
Titan expects a somewhat quieter second half-year, partly because the comparison with 2004 will be less flattering.
It also estimates that there are 25 fewer working days than in the first half of the year due to holidays in continental Europe, which accounts for 65 per cent of Titan's output.
Broker Seymour Pierce is looking for full-year profits of £10.2 million and earnings per share of 15.5p.