British Aluminium, the engineering materials, alloys and semi-fabricated components business bought out from British Alcan in February last year, could seek a public listing in the next two years, said Ian McKinnon, chief executive.
`This would provide access to new funds to strengthen the business,’ said McKinnon, who led the £200m buyout.
In the face of £202m debt raised from banks to fund the management buyout, the company has nevertheless made one acquisition in its fast-growing Luxfer aluminium gas cylinder business and is looking at another for a separate division, said McKinnon.
Since the buyout, the company has focused on developing its higher value products rather than on volume sales, said McKinnon, and a group-wide initiative has been launched to improve customer service.
British Aluminium has just reported trading profits before exceptional costs for last year of £35.3m, 33% higher than the £26.5m recorded in 1995. Rationalisation has also been necessary, incurring exceptional costs of £10.4m over the 12 months. Of this £4.9m went on redundancy costs at the commercial extrusions and wire and speciality rolling mill operations. McKinnon said pre-tax profits of £6.5m `comfortably outperformed the business plan for 1996′.
As part of £20m planned investments this year, capacity increases will take place in the UK and US in the group’s plate and MEL chemicals divisions.