New product launches have helped James Latham plc record an increase in group turnover of 4.2%.

Releasing its interim financial results, the company reported a rise in group turnover to £48.72m compared with £46,77m for the first six months of last year.

Pre-tax profits are £1,39m against a re-stated figure of £972,000. The results for the six months to September 30, 2002 have been re-stated to reflect the SSAP 24 (pensions) charge of £736,000 which was attributable to the 12 months ending March 31, 2003. This has reduced last year’s previously reported interim profits by £368,000.

The results for the six months to September 30, 2003 showed a 3.9% increase in sales at Lathams Ltd, the timber and panels distribution arm of the group, and a 5.2% increase at Neville Long, its ceiling systems, drylining and partitioning company.

Chairman Roger Latham said that bearing in mind the current competitive market, customers had continued to be reasonably buoyant in their business.

He added: “Our new product launches have also been very successfully received, which is reflected in the results.”

October saw many James Latham depots across the UK recording record sales months, although profits achieved by the new Lathams Ltd timber and panels distribution depots at Thurrock and Purfleet, although improving, are less than was earned at Clapton last year.

A planning application for mixed redevelopment of the Clapton site was refused and an appeal has been lodged, but it could be some months before a decision is made.