22 MAY 1964, Page 27

Firth Cleveland

The industrial holding company is not popular with investors except the unique THOMAS TILLING, but I was impressed by the report of FIRTH CLEVELAND which showed a 50 per cent rise in group profits for 1963. This company has three main divisions—retail stores (radio, TV and elec- trical equipment), engineering (machine tools, agricultural equipment etc.) and metals (steel rod and wire, lead sheet and pipe etc.). The directors have rejected two bids for their retail interests and state that trading prospects for 1964 give `cause for optimism.' They expect results to reach the record year 1960, which assumes an advance of about 25 per cent on 1963. At 21s. 3d. the 4s. shares yield 5.1 per cent on dividends of 27f per cent (up from 20 per cent) and nearly 9 per cent on earnings. The dividend in 1960 was 32 per cent.