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Northern Bear puts buy-ups on hold

Support services group Northern Bear has put its acquisition strategy on hold until at least next year despite seeing profits double.

The group has announced turnover for the six month period to September 30 was up 71 per cent on the same period last year to £23.4million while profits before tax more than doubled from £1mill to £2.1mill.

The company runs 12 companies in the north of England including recently acquired plumbing and heating specialist D J McGough plus asbestos specialist Chirmarn, building contractor
Hastie D Burton and refurbishment firm MGM.

Howard Gold, Northern Bear chairman, said the pipeline of potential acquisitions remained strong and funders continued to support the company’s strategy.

But, he added: 'Whilst we are currently considering a number of acquisition opportunities, we have taken the decision not to complete any further additions until 2009.

'Whilst we remain well placed and funded to complete acquisition opportunities, any slowdown in acquisition activity would provide a useful opportunity to further reduce our debt position and take advantage of further reduced interest margins as a result of a low debt / Earnings Before
Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) ratio.

'With our strong balance sheet, we look forward to progressing further during the second half of the current period and feel that our broad sector exposure will help us continue to prosper in these testing times.'