4 January 2011 – trading statement

The company has updated the market on trading for the year ended 31 December 2010 and earnings will be in line with upwardly revised forecasts. This means earnings per share will be around the 23p level. A modest increase to between 24.0p and 24.7p is currently pencilled in by analysts for 2011. We feel that acquisitions could see this figure bettered and there is potential for significant growth via acquisitions over the longer term. However, the share price has trebled from the 12-month low of 71p last June and until deals are announced there is scope for profit taking. For now we rate the shares as a HOLD.