Far East shakedown knocks Charter off its track

The Far East’s economic crisis claimed another victim last week when rail track equipment group Charter announced a 3% fall in profits. Charter warned that the increasingly uncertain economic environment had reduced its expectation for the second half of the year. Chief executive Nigel Smith, who took over in July, said: ‘The economic difficulties in […]

The Far East’s economic crisis claimed another victim last week when rail track equipment group Charter announced a 3% fall in profits.

Charter warned that the increasingly uncertain economic environment had reduced its expectation for the second half of the year.

Chief executive Nigel Smith, who took over in July, said: ‘The economic difficulties in Asia became evident during the first half of 1998 but continued to have a limited impact on performance during the period.’

Shares in the company dropped to a five-year low of 463p and broker ABN Amro scaled back its full-year forecast from £97m to £88m.

Smith said he did not expect the global economy to improve over the next 12 months.

But he said he believed Charter was still well placed to weather lower levels of economic activity.

Pre-tax profits fell from £49.7m to £44.7m, on turnover of £598.6m, 25.8% ahead of the same period last year.

Shareholders get a dividend of 9.5p, unchanged on a year ago.