Shares in Tomkins were up in early trading on the FTSE 250 after the engineering company reported a return to profit and a halving of its debt in the first half of the year.

The group reported a rise in sales of 23.4 per cent in the period to $2.4 billion, while the group turned around a loss of $114.9 million, reported last year, to a profit of $261.1 million.

Net debt was reported as falling from $515.9 million at the end of the first half of 2009 to $263.7 million.

Despite the return to profit Tomkins said it would not be paying an interim dividend. Following the first half of 2009 Tomkins paid an interim dividend of 3.50 cents per share

During the half year period Tomkins acquired Koch Filter Corporation and Trans Hose Corporation.

David Newlands, Chairman of Tomkins, commented, "The Group delivered a good set of results for the first half, benefitting from the continued improvement in conditions in most of our end markets. These results also reflect the positive impact from the actions management have taken over the last few years to reduce our cost base and restructure the business. Notwithstanding the strong performance in the first half of 2010, we believe that global economic uncertainty coupled with recent downward trends in some macro indicators is likely to impact negatively our end markets in the second half of 2010 compared to the first half.

"The cash Offer by Onex and CPPIB, announced last week, received careful consideration from the Independent Directors of Tomkins. The Independent Directors believe that the Offer is fair and reasonable and reflects both the value of the Group today and its future potential."

James Nicol, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Sales from ongoing segments were up 23% year-on-year due to stronger than expected volumes across all of our industrial and automotive end markets, as well as restocking particularly in the aftermarket. This was offset to some extent by further declines in US construction markets, which continue to weaken. Adjusted operating margins, which benefitted from the higher volumes combined with the substantially completed restructuring initiatives reached 12.2%, up from 8.0% in the second half of 2009."

By 08:01 shares in Tomkins were up 0.90 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 324.90 pence per share.