SOUTH EAST Asias economic crisis has forced Tilbury Douglas to divert effort into the high margin construction equipment hire market in South America.
The company will retain a presence in Hong Kong and Taiwan where infrastructure spend is still strong but, having opened a hire business in Chile, it plans to open another in Argentina this year.
Total group profits were boosted by a strong performance in the Middle East and Britain plus a return to profit in Continental Europe. Group pretax profits were up to 22.3M from 19M while turnover increased to 523M from 478M.
Profits from contracting and equipment hire in the Pacific Rim fell sharply last year as orders dropped and construction workload dried up. This saw operating profits from the region plunge to 47,000 from 5.3M in 1996. Turnover in the Far East fell from 21M to 13M.