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Havelock sells fume extractor business for £420,000

Havelock Europa has made another disposal as it continues to pay down debt and looks to resume investment.

The Fife-based schools and stores interiors group has sold Lancashire-based Clean Air, a laboratory fume cupboard provider, for £420,000 in cash to Yorkshire firm Perrott Engineering. Havelock, which employs more than 500 at Dalgety Bay and Kirkcaldy, said the cash would reduce the group's bank debts.

Clean Air provides fume cupboard and extraction solutions for schools, colleges, universities and research and industrial facilities. It was acquired by Havelock in 2004 as it diversified its educational interiors business.

Clean Air made a pre-tax loss of £50,000 last year on sales of £2.18 million. It has net assets of just less than £1m, two-thirds of it in cash and internal group debtors.

Havelock said it continued to trade in line with its expectations and would make its next market announcement in January.

Chief executive Eric Prescott said the disposal was "in line with our strategy of focusing Havelock Europa on the development of its core business of interiors fittings and fit out services" and followed the sale earlier this year of Showcard Print. The sale of Hertfordshire-based Showcard netted the group an £8m gain, and helped Havelock slash debt from £13.7m at the end of last year to just £2.3m. House broker Investec has forecast a break-even for 2012 after the first-half pre-tax loss fell by 25% to £1.2m.

Havelock shares were up 0.88p at 13.12p.

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