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Company spotlight: Renew

FINANCE

ARE the days of bouncing around the Alternative Investment Market with little interest from investors finally over for Renew?

Having to describe Renew as the group formerly known as Montpellier suggests something from the pages of the NME, but the business certainly appears to be starting to sing in tune.

With the Swedish value investors mostly gone, chairman Roy Harrison has steadied the ship with the help of the experienced Brian May as incoming chief executive.

For the six months to March 2006, Renew has posted results with no exceptional items and a pre-tax profit of £1.8 million in the six months to March 2006 - up from a meagre £100,000 a year ago.

That enabled the group to provide an interim dividend of 0.4p per share, which translates into earnings per share of 3.01p.

The sale of social housing subsidiary Bullock to the management for £22.3 million gave rise to suggestions of a break-up but also wiped out pension liabilities.

Philip Underwood's stepping-down from the board to concentrate on running subsidiaries VHE Construction and Shepley Engineers will only fuel break-up theories.

But Shepley is focusing on rising opportunities for nuclear commissioning work and has been supported by the £650,000 acquisition of nuclear electrical contractor PPS.

Mr Underwood's move also sees John Samuel joining as group finance director, which will provide benefits for a business that is clearly reviving, but would probably fare even better if not on AIM at all.