LONDON (May 14)—British conveyor belting group Fenner P.L.C. posted an 89-percent improvement in first-half profits, helped by strong demand in the global coal industry for its products, and steady sales elsewhere. Fenner supplies lightweight and heavyweight conveyor belting for the mining and power-generation sectors, and precision motion control products for computers, copiers and mechanical equipment. For the six months ended Feb. 28, profits before tax rose $9.7 million, while sales from continuing operations increased 9 percent to $113.6 million, according to Fenner's interim results announcement. "Our operations continue to experience varied conditions across their territories and markets. Both Europe and South Africa are seeing a recovery in demand for their products, indicating improved profitability in both heavyweight belting and precision polymers," Fenner Chairman Colin Cooke said in the statement. Profit growth in the second half may be slower, cautioned Cooke, noting that more than 60 percent of group sales are in the North American market.