Charter, which makes welding, air-handling and other equipment, confirmed this week that it has found a buyer for its specialised engineering division.
The division was the best-performing part of the firm in the first half of 1999, with operating profits of £13m on a turnover of £124.3m. It makes railway, aerospace, defence and food equipment.
Speculation about the buyer’s identity has focused on venture capitalist Candover, but Charter would not confirm this.
Charter’s first-half pre-tax profits fell to £28.1m from £44.7m last year on turnover down to £549m from £599m. Profits at its its air and gas-handling business rose following restructuring.
Charter hopes to benefit from a 6% cut in its workforce by the end of the year.
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