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Company spotlight: Interior

FINANCE

MORGAN Sindall's recent acknowledgment that the fit-out sector is starting to perk up lifted shares in some firms exposed to this market but not Interior.

In the past financial year, fit-out comprised 54 per cent of Interior's turnover and, despite diversification, this sector remains key.

Interior likes to highlight the fees earned, which were down £2.9 million to £18.4 million in the second half of last year, to drive home to shareholders that not all turnover is from risky contracting jobs.

Unlike some firms on the Alternative Investment Market - particularly the handful of contractors quoted on this junior market - Interior does have institutional shareholders.

But in trying to diversify after the commercial market dipped, Interior took on big jobs as a main contractor, which these shareholders will not like.

Chairman David King's decision to follow best practice, in the wake of the Higgs report, and split his responsibilities will have gone down well. He will stay as chief executive while Roy Dantzic takes over as chairman.

And the pair's discussions with shareholders are likely to start getting interesting again as Mr King has looked at taking the business private twice in recent years but has not succeeded.

Persuading big shareholders such as Threadneedle Investments, which has sold down its stake slightly over the past year to 10.2 per cent, to sell up means that the board has to come up with a good offer.