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Company spotlight: Pilkington's Tiles

FINANCE

PILKINGTON'S Tiles could not be more different than the glassmaking giant of the same name that is also listed and often confused with the tile manufacturer.

Pilkington's Tiles turned over just £29.2 million in the year to March 2004.

This was up £3.4 million on the previous 12 months and compares with annual sales of £2.7 billion at the glassmaker.

While the stock exchange is becoming more optimistic for Pilkington, the state of trading at the tilemaker, which continues to trade in the red, prompted the board to sell up.

Pilkington's Tiles did cut pre-tax losses by £777,000 to £1.5 million last year.

The board was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of trading but this was not enough to tempt the Swinton-based company to continue soldiering on.

Instead - and mindful of continued reductions in British manufacturing - the entire operating businesses are being sold to Surface Coatings Limited for £3.1 million and the remaining assets, principally a property at Hamworthy in Dorset, will be sold off in the coming months.

The fire sale comes after an independent strategic review and despite attempts by the company to increase its portfolio by sourcing products overseas.

What really drove the firm to sell up was the realisation that, even on the junior Alternative Investment Market, where the firm and a number of other small cap companies have re-listed, there is no interest in products firms from investors.