Vaughan McLeod\'s Ennstone group continues to be disappointed with the performance of their Stone Products business, although they say it is the reconstituted stone products rather than the natural products that are causing most concern.
Sales of the Stone Products division (which includes the reconstituted products) in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year were up 20% at Â£4.2million.
However, the extra sales brought an operating loss of Â£80,000 compared with last time\'s profit of Â£168,000 and McLeod says in his interim chairman\'s report: The Group is looking at ways of achieving greater shareholder value from these assets.
McLeod took over Albrighton at the end of 1996 after selling his interest in his previous aggregates company, Ennemix, to Lafarge in order to fight off an unwelcomed bid from Redland Aggregates (since then also bought by Lafarge).
Albrighton were one of the country\'s biggest dimensional stone companies with 13 quarries, but McLeod wanted to develop an aggregates company and also felt there had to be a way of using the waste produced from the dimensional stone quarries.
When the opportunity arose he bought a concrete block business from Tarmac to expand the stone operation. He also quickly expanded into aggregates and this year bought brickmakers Blockeys, immediately re-selling them at a profit as well as retaining building land. And he bought the aggregates business of Breedon.
Ennstone today is primarily an aggregates company with a turnover in the first six months of this year of nearly Â£23million, up nearly 20% on the same period last year. Pre-tax profit was down from Â£753,000 to to Â£659,000.
McLeod says of his business in general: The outlook for the second half remains good, with a particularly strong contribution expected from our US [aggregates] business.