Aircraft interiors helping AIM fly

A deal of only 1,000 shares will move the price of tightly-held AIM Group, the aircraft interiors designer and manufacturer. So it took quite a pasting when a flood of small sell orders followed the good 1997 results, diving 70p over a couple of trading days to 495p. Market-makers said punters were taking profits after […]

A deal of only 1,000 shares will move the price of tightly-held AIM Group, the aircraft interiors designer and manufacturer. So it took quite a pasting when a flood of small sell orders followed the good 1997 results, diving 70p over a couple of trading days to 495p.

Market-makers said punters were taking profits after an upward run that virtually doubled the price within a year to a peak close to £6.

Jeff Smith, the chairman, and Casper MacDonald-Hall, executive director, between them own 51% of the company. Hence the tight market.

Investors staying for the ride will not grumble at the figures – a 63.6% increase to 9p in dividends covered over three times by earnings up 10p at 30.7p a share, profits before tax up 37% at £5.37m, sales up 10% at £74m, and an operating margin improved from 7.9% to 9.6%.

Borrowings were cut during the year by 46% to just over £9m. That reduces gearing to 36% against 78% the year before.

Edward Stanford of broker Albert E Sharp looks for profits this year of £7.35m with earnings rising to 35.6p and dividends to 11.25p. He has pencilled in a tentative pre-tax £8.3m for 1998-99.

Smith noted the useful showcase given to his company’s work by the interiors of the 90 DC9s it has refurbished for Northwest Airlines. Executives of other airlines flying NWA are among those apparently acclaiming the workmanship. Orders for work on the fleets of two other airlines have come in as a result.

Harris enthused particularly over AIM’s assignment to refurbish 747s of the KLM fleet, and said he saw considerable potential for business with the other 747 operators.