OMI climbing back to the black

Engineering solutions’ expert OMI International is back in profit after four loss-making years. But it could be some time before it is in a position to make any major acquisitions. Richard Duggan, its executive chairman, reckons there is still a way to go before it fully re-establishes its investment credibility. The shares, at around 26p, […]

Engineering solutions’ expert OMI International is back in profit after four loss-making years. But it could be some time before it is in a position to make any major acquisitions.

Richard Duggan, its executive chairman, reckons there is still a way to go before it fully re-establishes its investment credibility.

The shares, at around 26p, are double their low of last year, but a long way from the 200p of eight years ago.

So while Duggan expects to make more small add-ons like his recent £1m purchase of Redkoh, a US environmental controls outfit, he concedes that any sizeable acquisition must await the day when OMI paper is strong enough to finance it.

OMI trades in three divisions. The biggest, design and documentation, pulled out of the red in the first half with operating profits of £620,000. It includes Munich-based Peters & Zabransky which offers `engineering solutions’ for problems in finite element modelling, and automotive engineering and placement to clients like BMW, Rover, and Audi.

Redkoh joins the environmental division which includes Castlet, maker of air control and military electronic equipment. Optronics is the smallest division, specialising in precision optical assemblies.

OMI made £375,000 pre-tax in the first half (against a £3.3m loss at same stage last year), and stockbroker Greig Middleton looks for £1m for the full year.