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Hanson profits to leap 10 per cent despite UK downturn

Materials giant Hanson is set to increase operating profits by 10 per cent despite a faltering performance from its UK aggregate and brick operations.

Hanson is expecting operating profits of around £220 million for the first half of the year, up from £197.3 million in 2005.

But sales in Hanson's UK brick division have been hit a fall-off in repair, maintenance and improvement work, with volumes expected to be 20 per cent below last year.

The company is expecting operating profits of around half last year's £21.5 million.

The UK aggregates division will also post lower profits than last year following weak market demand. Hanson has also countered increases in energy costs and bitumen with cost reduction initiatives.

US performance will drive profits at the company in the first half, with its aggregates and building products divisions expecting operating profits to increase by 25 per cent.

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