Business in brief: GKN | Sweett | Desire | Fuller, Smith & Turner

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A ROUND-UP of the latest business news.

Aggreko’s Cockburn on board at GKN

Engineering group GKN has appointed Angus Cockburn, chief financial officer of Glasgow-based temporary power supplier Aggreko, as a non-executive director.

Cockburn, who was managing director of Dawson International’s Pringle Scotland division before joining Aggreko in 2000, takes up his new role in January. He is also a non-executive and chair of the audit committee at joiner Howden.

GKN said: “His experience of international business and his strong financial background will provide significant expertise to both the board and the audit committee.”

PFI sale helps put Sweett in black

Construction consultancy Sweett has moved back into the black after selling off its stake in a Scottish schools PFI project.

The firm sold its investment in the Inverclyde scheme to infrastructure manager Equitix in July. That deal, along with the disposal of its interest in a local improvement project in Plymouth, helped it post a

pre-tax profit of £1.6 million for the six months to 30 September, compared with a £200,000 loss a year ago.

Sweett said shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 0.3p per share, up from last year’s payout of 0.2p.

‘Excellent’ Desire for Falklands oil

Oil explorer Desire Petroleum has reported “excellent exploration potential” from its discoveries off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

A report by consultancy Senergy estimated the chance of commercial development at its Sea Lion complex to be 80 per cent, but just 25 per cent for the Liz gas condensate discovery.

Seymour Pierce analyst Sam Wahab said: “Significant appraisal activity will be required to validate the region.”

Exploration in the area has sparked anger in Argentina, which claims sovereignty over the islands it calls the Malvinas.

London’s pride despite Olympics

Fuller, Smith & Turner, the brewer and pubs operator behind the London Pride cask ale, has posted an 8 per cent rise in half-year revenues despite disruption caused by the Olympics and bad weather.

The group reported revenues of £137.9 million for the six months to 29 September, up from £128.2m for the same period last year, as total beer volumes nudged up 1 per cent.

Adjusted pre-tax profits rose 4 per cent to £17.1m and the firm will pay shareholders an interim dividend of 5.35p per share, an increase of 6 per cent over last year.