THE Heenan Group has produced a most excellent report for the year ended Septem- ber 2, with profits of £883,000—another record. Praise is due to the management for maintaining a high rate of production and excellent labour relations. There are not many companies today in this field of manufacture which can boast a balance of orders outstanding of £5.6 million (an increase of £1.2 million on the previous year). These include a considerable number for export. The principal subsidiary, Heenan and Fronde, is stepping up production to meet demand, especially for two of its pro- ducts, PT dynamometers and eddy-current couplings. The chairman, Mr. C. L. Hill, could have paid a higher dividend than 13 per cent. (which was twice covered by earnings) and would have done had it not been for the Chancellor's request for restraint. Future prospects look good and make the 5s. ordinary shares at 14s. 6d. a sound purchase to yield 4.4 per cent.
It has not been easy for the piano industry to maintain its profit margins during a year when rising costs and hire-purchase restrictions have affected them. Herrburger Brooks have suffered a small drop'in pre-tax profits from £37,547 to £33,722 for the year ended June 30, 1961; but the 15 per cent. dividend is being maintained. The chairman, Mr. C. W. P. Hughes, is taking every opportunity to expand the company's over- seas business and hopes that they will benefit from the publicity campaign being carried out by the piano industry. The 10s. ordinary shares are quoted at 12s. 6d.
During the financial year ending June 30, 1961, the price of No. 1 sisal fluctuated between £103 and £93 per ton c.i.f. UK ports; it is now only £80 per ton. Therefore the outlook for the cur- rent year for East African Sisal Plantations is a little uncertain, although the chairman, Mr. G. R. S. Doyle, hopes that at this low level demand may be stimulated. Trading profits have declined from £48,054 to £41,994, as these were affected by the serious and prolonged drought and also rising labour costs. However, the dry spell is now at an end and large areas of forest are being cleared for replanting, while labour charges should be reduced by the change- over from wood fuel to oil-burning equipment in the drying plant. The fall in net profits of 45 per cent. has necessitated a cut in the divi- dend from 9 per cent. plus a 2 per cent. tax-free payment to 5 per cent. The 10s. ordinary shares are quoted at 5s.
The past year (ended April 30, 1961) has been one of successful expansion for Victoria Property and Investment Co. Profits of the group's trading increased by 125 per cent. to £320,776 before tax. This increase is, of course, related to the rights and loans issues which took place last year for the purpose of making new ac- quisitions. The net profit after tax amounted to £175,722, of which dividends totalling 24 per cent. absorb £166,863. The chairman, Mr. F. C. Thrush, points out that without allowing for increasing income from newly acquired property and future developments, the company can look forward to steadily increasing rental business over the next few years, particularly as two- thirds of their residential properties are still rent-controlled. As soon as open-market rentals can be obtained for these a higher income will result. This group's properties consist of shops, offices and flats, mostly situated in London and the south of England, with some in Birmingham and Oldham. The 2s. ordinary shares at 8s. 6d. yield 7 per cent. on the forecast 30 per cent. dividend.