IMI in £175m buyback plan as focuses on manufacturing core

BLUE CHIP engineer IMI yesterday kicked off a £175m share buyback programme and said it would sell off most of its merchandising business, sending its shares up sharply yesterday.

The engineer – which specialises in fluid control systems such as valves and beverage systems – said it planned to sell the majority of its merchandising arm to focus on its core manufacturing business.

The division, which makes marketing displays, contributed about eight per cent of IMI’s revenue last year.

IMI is also eyeing up more opportunities in the energy markets, its chief executive Martin Lamb told City A.M. yesterday.

“Longer term we’re looking at the energy market, to gas and LNG,” Lamb said, adding that healthcare would also be an important sector.

IMI, which yesterday posted a one per cent rise in full-year adjusted pre-tax profit, said it would remain focused on M&A in 2013. Revenues rose three per cent to £2.2bn over the year.

The FTSE 100-listed firm pledged an eight per cent hike in its final dividend to 32.5p per share. Shares closed up 4.5 per cent at 1,319p.