IMI sees first half profit down 10%

British engineering group Imperial Metal Industries Plc (IMI) announced on 3 July that the spread of economic weakness from the United States to Europe would slice around 10% off its first-half profit…

British engineering group Imperial Metal Industries Plc (IMI) announced on 3 July that the spread of economic weakness from the United States to Europe would slice around 10% off its first-half profit this year compared with the same period of 2000. Chief Executive Martin Lamb said in an interview that trading conditions were “very difficult” but said the company was not planning as yet to add to the 1,200 job losses announced in March. The Birmingham-based group, which makes fluid-control systems ranging from air conditiiners to drink dispensers, said in a trading update that “overall operating profit before rationalisation costs and goodwill amortisation is expected to be around 10 percent lower than the first half of the year”. He added that IMI, which sells around 75% of its products outside Britain, would press ahead with its restructuring programme announced in March. He said the company had spent around GBP 10-12 million of the GBP 40 million set aside for the rationalisation. IMI, which employs around 19,000 people worldwide, announced in March that it planned to focus on a smaller number of businesses which demonstrated higher growth potential. As part of this, it bought plastic designs company Display Technologies for GBP 26 million and sold a number of energy controls businesses for GBP 55 pounds last month. “There“s more reshaping to be done, with more disposals and more acqusitions,” Lamb said. In the statement, IMI also rejected recent press speculation that its Polypipe division was suffering from cracked pipes and would thereby incur large repair costs. It also said there had been “no further developments” in a European Commission probe into alleged cartel practices in the copper tube and fitting market. IMI was visited by Commission inspectors in March, along with a number of other companies in Germany, Italy, France and Finland. IMI“s results for the six months to June 30 are due to be published on September 10.