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Profits at Armstong lift after PFI signing

FINANCE - Group turnover grows 10 per cent as all divisions operate in the black

COMPLETION of its second private finance initiative scheme helped send profits bounding up last year at Thomas Armstrong, with the Cumbrian-based contractor scouting for acquisitions.

Armstrong has a 60 per cent stake in a PFI deal to run Workington's police station and completion of a hospital concession in the town turned a £ 211,411 deficit in PF I work in 2004 into a profit last year.

Armstrong said: 'All group companies made strong contributions to the results.

We look forward to another successful year, with all group companies expected to continue to provide good contributions.

'It is still our policy to acquire other viable businesses that would fit into the group, that we have the expertise to manage and that would make the required level of return on capital.' In the year to October 2005, Armstrong paid out £2.7 million in dividends or 200p per share ? up from 175p per share in the previous year.

The group still retained a prof it of £7.1 million in 2005 and with net current assets at the year end of £17.2 million is in a good position to buy if the right deal came up.

Armstrong also has a development arm, quarrying interests and manufactures and distributes building materials and timber products.