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Plant hirer Torex of Torquay has enjoyed a 'clear improvement' in its second-half trading, with a large fall in the number of liquidations and bankruptcies among its customers.'We have reached the stage where the weakest have gone to the wall and those that remain have a good chance of survival,' says chairman Ben Longrigg.Confidence is also rising among small companies in the South-West.Torex returned to the black in the year ending October with a pre-tax profit of £97,000 (1992: £335,000, loss) and a small rise in the dividend. Turnover rose 7 per cent to £4.5 million.Torex says trading at its tool and small plant hire division improved in every month since May and the firm's operations in catering hire, fire protection and temporary toilets are growing.The company believes it will benefit from water and drainage schemes under construction in Cornwall and more European Union-financed work. CONSTRUCTION NEWS