Ennstone recovers from failed bid for Johnstone by announcing strong profit growth despite slowdown in local market.

Aggregates company Ennstone has announced a 16% jump in pre-tax profit to £2.010m for the six months to 30 June 2004.

The rise comes despite difficult trading conditions in England, which Ennstone said was hit by a fall in highway maintenance work in the MIdlands, its core area.

Ennstone said that the slowdown in the infrastructure development in England was offset by a strong performance by its building product division and from the US and Scotland.

Chairman Vaughan McLeod said: “We are pleased with our strong performance. The US has had an excellent first six months Scotland was firmly on track and England performed well in a difficult market.”

Aggregate turnover in the US is £13.1m compared to £40.0m in the UK. Group turnover rose by 15% to £53.09m.

Ennstone also announced that it gained permissions for over 20 million tonnes of additional mineral reserves, which included an extension at its Breedon quarry allowing a further 16m tonnes of limestone to be processed.

Ennstone was recently granted the option to acquire Johnston Roadstone’s Leinthall quarry and ashpalt operation for £11.25m. It also anticipates the completion of a deal to buy GRS (South Witham) in the second half of 2004. The deal includes a limestone quarry in Lincolnshire.

Ennstone attempted to buy Johnston this summer but its £43.8m offer was trumped by a £53m cash offer from Anglo American. The company said that exception costs relating to the offer would be incurred in the second half of 2004.