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Company spotlight: Interior

FINANCE

STACKED away on the dusty shelves of the stock market are a myriad of businesses neglected by investors.

Having tried ? according to City legend ? and failed to buy Interior off the Alternative Investment Market on at least a couple of occasions in recent years, Interior chief executive David King knew he had to do something with the business or it would languish.

He did that by buying regional contractor Propencity late last year. What made the deal cute was that it attracted investors' interest by buying into cash-rich regional contracting at a time when Interior's core commercial market was already showing signs of revival.

Small-sized regional building work is a market that nvestors are increasingly buying into, as Kier and Rok have demonstrated.

Interior bought three reasonably sized outfits ? Totty, Jackson Building and Dean & Bowes ? that were well run but weighed down by the deal that Propencity struck in order to buy them from Peterhouse.

Propencity paid off large debts but eventually this proved too much and around £8.5 million of the £16.5 million to be paid by Interior is Propencity's debt.

Now, with steady stewardship of the existing business and investment in Propencity, Mr King has a chance to create a sizeable contracting business.

With Propencity trading in the black after only a few weeks under Interior and the group's order book standing at £770 million by December, the future looks bright.