Flying Brands suffers drop but reinstates dividend

FLYING Brands, the home shopping business in which Scots entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter holds a strategic stake, has reported a 26 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £1.4 million, but restored its dividend in a show of confidence in its streamlined business.

The Jersey-based firm said it had successfully offloaded its Benham collectibles brand and acquired London florist Drake Algar for 500,000 and was also set to take over web-based gardening hardware retailer Garden Centre Online for 113,000.

Chief executive Stephen Cook said: "We continue to make progress with our strategy of transforming the group into a predominantly online retailer focused on value for money products in gardening and gifts."

Hunter, who owns a 29 per cent share of the business through his West Coast Capital investment vehicle, last year pledged to become a "more active shareholder" in the company.