Key Points:

Skellerup Holdings, maker of red band gumboots, has reported a rise in half-year profit and is paying shareholders a 2.5c a share dividend.

The diversified industrial company, which has restructured, said trading in the second half so far is more difficult.

The net profit after tax in the six months to December 31 of $6.5 million is up from $6.1m reported last year.

The profit is up 27.9 per cent if only the businesses the company continued to own are compared and the company said if the impact of a capital raising, which reduced interest costs, is taken into account the profit is up 13.1 per cent.

The company is forecasting a full-year net profit after tax of $11 million, down from $12.6m last year, but up against the $10.4m on a continuing operations basis.

Chairman Sir Selwyn Cushing said the agricultural division increased earnings by 21 per cent with the help of a strong dairy sector, while the industrial division performed satisfactorily.

He said the decision taken 18 months ago to sell non-core assets was with hindsight a correct one.

"Along with the successful capital raising in March last year, these changes are now providing tangible benefits," he said.

The dividend is payable on April 30. The company suspended dividends for a year while it restructured. The half-year dividend is at the lower end of a range the company could have paid in line with its dividend policy.

The company sold its Alucobond business post balance date and will use the $1.4m of proceeds to reduce debt.

- NZPA