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Universal Salvage (UVS)

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Tuesday 20 June, 2000

Universal Salvage

Final Results

Universal Salvage PLC
20 June 2000


                             UNIVERSAL SALVAGE PLC
                                       
 Universal Salvage manages the disposal of vehicle salvage for third parties  
 on a contract basis. It is the UK's largest vehicle salvage company.

             PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 29 APRIL 2000

 * Pre-tax profit increased to £5.5 million (1999: £0.2 million) reflecting

   - increased marketing of vehicles to auction audiences
   - new terms with motor insurers

 * Turnover slightly reduced at £87.6 million (1999: £89.4 million)

 * Earnings per share increased to 14.3p per share (1999: 0.8p per share)

 * Net borrowing substantially reduced to £4.2 million (1999: £6.2 million)

 * Proposed final dividend of 2.5p per share, giving a total dividend of 3.5p 
   per share (1999: 1.0p)

 * Three important developments initiated:

  - Universal Salvage website - helping to increase auction attendances
  - StatUS, extranet version of salvage management system, piloted with motor
    insurance customers - now fully launched
  - acquisition of a vehicle spare parts locator business, now renamed        
    Universal Select

 * Structural reorganisation - to accelerate development of Universal's
   service offering

 * Further strengthening of management team with appointment of finance
   director, Jonathan Cook , with effect from 1 September 2000

 Commenting, Chairman, Alexander Foster, said,

 'I am very pleased to report a significant recovery in the Group's           
  profitability and the strongest set of results since the Company's          
  flotation...  These excellent results arise from the strategy put in place  
  two years ago by the new management team ...

  The Board is committed to continuing to improve and extend the services that
  Universal offers and the launch of StatUS and Universal Select, together    
  with our website, not only enhances our core salvage activities but also    
  provides exciting new business opportunities... This new financial year has 
  started well and I look forward to reporting further progress to you as we  
  continue to grow the Company.'

 For further information:
     
 Universal Salvage plc:    Martin Hynes, chief executive      T: 020 7464 4280
 Biddick Associates:       Katie Tzouliadis                   T: 020 7464 4280


 CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

 Results

 I am very pleased to report a significant recovery in the Group's            
 profitability and the strongest set of results since the Company's flotation
 in 1995. Profit before tax for the year ended 29 April 2000 rose to £5.5m
 (1999 - £0.2m). Earnings per share increased to 14.3p per share (1999 - 0.8p
 per share). This profit was achieved on slightly reduced turnover of £87.6m
 (1999 - £89.4m). Net assets at 29 April 2000 stood at £16.7m (1999 - £13.7m).
 Net  borrowings were substantially reduced to £4.2m (1999 - £6.2m) and       
 gearing decreased to 25% (1999 - 45%). These excellent results arise from the
 strategy put in place two years ago by the new management team. It was the
 Board's objective to improve the Company's quality of earnings and develop
 additional sources of revenue. As these figures indicate, the Group has made
 considerable progress towards these goals over the last twelve months. The
 key components in the Group's turnaround in fortune have been the increased
 marketing of vehicles to auction audiences and the support of our insurance
 customers.

 Dividend

 A proposed final dividend of 2.5p per share (1999 - 0.9p per share) will be
 paid on the 23 August 2000 to shareholders on the register at 7 July 2000,
 bringing the total dividend to 3.5p per share (1999 - 1.0p per share).

 Service

 Improving the value of our service to customers is central to all the actions
 we take and extending our range of service related activities are prime
 objectives of the Board. We view these as a continuous process, involving a
 commitment to staff training and development, together with the considerable
 ongoing investment in the infrastructure of the Group.

 Three important developments have been initiated this year: our web site,
 www.universal-salvage.com; an extranet version of our salvage management
 system, 'StatUS'; and the acquisition of a spare parts locator business,
 Select Online Spares.

 This year has seen the first Universal Salvage web site, which has produced
 outstanding results. Coupled with many other marketing initiatives, it has
 led to increased attendance at auctions across the Group. Over the next few
 months, further enhancements to the web site will be made, improving its ease
 of use and extending the range of services that it offers our auction        
 bidders.

 StatUS, our on-line salvage management system, was successfully tested by a
 number of our motor insurance customers during the year and will be fully
 launched in the first quarter of the new financial year. The system operates
 under secure conditions and enables customers to have total transparency over
 the salvage process for the first time. They can check the progress of their
 salvage vehicles, from instruction to disposal and thereby satisfy their     
 'Duty of Care' issues. The principle objective of StatUS is to reduce process
 costs for our customers. In addition, as vehicles can be processed  more
 efficiently, our capacity to handle increased volumes is improved. We are
 greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic response that motor insurers have     
 given this innovation and believe that it will further consolidate our       
 relationships with the motor insurance industry.

 Select Online Spares was acquired just before the end of the financial year
 for a total consideration of £100,000. The Board had identified that a need
 existed for the provision of a service enabling recycled parts to be located
 and supplied on a national basis. Universal Select, as the business is now
 named, enables repair businesses to locate parts and source them from        
 carefully selected dismantlers within the Universal network of buyers.       
 Universal Select will act as the facilitator of this relationship. The       
 business operates with a small call centre at present, but this will be      
 expanded as the network grows and will be supported by an on-line system     
linking buyers and sellers. The Board believes that Universal Select          
represents an exciting opportunity to develop the sales of recycled parts,
 deepen relationships with all potential users of those parts and enhance the
 sale of 'repairable' and 'breaker' vehicles through our auctions.

 Structure

 In order to focus on our customers' needs and accelerate the development of
 our service, the Group has been reorganised into two divisions, Universal
 Salvage and Universal Vehicle Services.

 Alastair McGill has been appointed Managing Director of Universal Salvage,   
 our core salvage operation. Alastair is responsible for the operational      
 running of our auction sites, improving efficiency and maximising the returns
 achievable from the collection, storage and disposal of salvage vehicles.

 Barrie Hobbs, Business Development Director, has responsibility for Universal
 Vehicle Services, which includes Universal Select. He is responsible for
 developing relationships with our customers, auction bidders, motor insurers
 and motor manufacturers, as well as developing products that will improve the
 efficiency of our services and generate additional revenue. Barrie is also
 responsible for the Group's dismantling sites and vehicle trade centre.

 Board Changes

 At the half year, Cliff Bassett announced his intention to retire from the
 Board as non executive Chairman. Cliff, who started this business in 1968 in
 Luton, has had an enormous impact on the motor salvage business within the   
 UK over the last three decades and I would like to place on record the       
 Board's gratitude for his considerable contribution. At his departure at the 
 end of December 1999, I stepped up into the position of non executive        
 Chairman.

 In January this year, Anne Thomas was appointed Company Secretary to the     
 Group and I am pleased to report that from 1 September 2000, Jonathan Cook   
 will be joining us as Group Finance Director. Jonathan was previously Finance
 Director of PTS Group Plc. He replaces Colin Bramall who stepped down as
 Finance Director earlier in the year.

 REVIEW OF OPERATIONS

 Over the last two years, the Board has had three core objectives for         
 Universal Salvage.

 The first was to return the business to a level of profitability and cash    
 flow more appropriate to its market leading position.

 The second was to change the business model so that the commercial risk on
 transactions was transparent to our customers and a more appropriate charging
 mechanism agreed.

 The third was to position Universal Salvage as a value-added service provider
 to its customers, removed from its historic role as a trader in motor        
 salvage.

 All of these three objectives are inextricably linked together. Our programme
 of contract renegotiations with our motor insurance customers has been key to
 achieving our second and third objectives and the benefits of our new        
 contract terms have started to flow through. There are now excellent         
 opportunities for Universal to build upon the relationships that we have in  
 place enabling us to grow significantly our current business both in terms of
 volume and added value services.

 Business Process Model

 We have simplified our current business process to the chain shown below:    

                                Customers
                                    
   Insurance Companies         Motor Manufacturers         Other Providers
             I                        I                         I
             I........................I.........................I
                                      I
                                Contact Universal
                                      I
                                Collect Vehicle
                                      I
                                Store Vehicle
                                      I
                                Dispose of Vehicle
                                      I 
      I...........I............I......I........I...............I
      I           I            I               I               I
   Auction       Scrap       Dismantle       Repair       Return to Insured
                                      I
                                      I
                Motor Repair Businesses & Specialist Dismantlers

                                Customers

 This chain clearly demonstrates that Universal Salvage has two groups of
 customers; on the one hand we provide a service to insurance companies and   
 motor manufacturers disposing of salvage vehicles and at the other end of the
 chain we provide salvage and breaker vehicles - to vehicle repairers or      
 vehicle dismantlers.

 These two end user groups are linked together by the service that we provide
 in the centre and it is around this service chain that we wish to continue
 evolving the Universal Brand.

 We intend to improve margins in our core business and create new revenue by
 developing additional value-added services. This will be achieved partly
 through the introduction of new technology and partly by simply linking
 together the networks of our customers to create added value communities.

 Information Technology

 Two of the most exciting developments over the last twelve months have been
 the pilot of our web-based salvage management system, StatUS and the         
 acquisition of Select Online Spares, now renamed as Universal Select. These
 developments mentioned in the Chairman's Statement are significant steps in
 our ambition to broaden the service offering and generate new income streams.

 Considerable progress has been made in our programme to replace the Group's
 core computer systems with modern and flexible tools. In this context, we are
 pleased to announce the appointment of Biju Chudasama as IT Director of our  
 main trading entity. He will be responsible for the continuing development   
 of our IT capability.

 Operations

 As a result of the ongoing programme of improvements, we will be able to
 increase substantially the volume of vehicles that we handle and further
 strengthen our market share over the medium term.

 During the year, 19 transporters have been replaced or refurbished, reducing
 our maintenance costs and improving our collection capacity. This investment 
 is an ongoing process and an additional investment for 16 new transporters is
 planned over the next twelve months.

 Our site investment programme has continued. In October 1999, we acquired the
 freehold of our site in Sandwich for £2.1 million. As was reported at the    
 half year, the short term lease that we were operating under was due to      
 expire in June 2000 and this acquisition has secured the long term capacity  
 necessary for the Group in the South East. A small three acre site alongside 
 our storage and auction site in Corby was purchased in January 2000. This    
 further enhances our capacity in the East Midlands region. Plans for         
 additional capacity are well underway in both the North and West Midlands to 
 ensure that we can cope with anticipated growth in the numbers of vehicles   
 handled.

 As part of improving site efficiency, we are investing in specialist         
 processing equipment to handle those vehicles classified as scrap. Our Corby
 site now has full processing capability and is able to 'de-pollute' and crush
 'scrap' classified vehicles, reducing storage and handling costs. We intend  
 to extend this capability to all our sites over the coming months.

 Structure
 
 As we grow and develop both the Group's physical infrastructure and services,
 an appropriate management structure is required. Accordingly, the business
 has been divided into the two divisions, Universal Salvage and Universal
 Vehicle Services.

 Alastair McGill is responsible for all the salvage and auction sites within
 the Universal Salvage business and he will manage all the additional
 investment in our sites and transporters that will be made over the next few
 years. This investment in infrastructure is coupled with a continuing        
 emphasis on staff training and development to ensure that a reliable and     
 consistent service culture operates throughout the whole organisation. Our   
 overall objectives are to improve standards of service to all our customers, 
 improve the operational efficiency of the business, maximising the returns   
 achievable on collection, storage, disposal and delivery of vehicles.

 Universal Vehicle Services, (UVS), reporting to Barrie Hobbs will be         
 responsible for the acquisition and maintenance of all supplier and customer
 relationships. UVS's primary objective is to develop added value services
 which will release costs from the processes employed in both our supplier and
 bidder customer base. However, a key objective is also to work closely with
 suppliers to develop innovative ways to reduce the number of days that       
 vehicles sit on our sites. The aim is to continue the reduction that has     
 already seen stock turn fall from 66 to 44 days over the course of the       
 company's financial year.
 
 We will also be introducing technological solutions to tasks that were
 previously very labour intensive. These systems will also for the first time
 allow suppliers to see the 'total picture' of costs and returns within the
 business. This action will reinforce the commitment we have made to 'open
 book' relationships with all our customers, and will be the building block   
 to forging a deeper relationship in which both parties share a mutual trust
 through transparency of costs and processes.

 The acquisition of Universal Select now allows us to create a 'success       
 circle' by linking the buyers of repairable cars to the sellers of parts that
 allow their economic repair. This will also mean that the parts sellers (our
 accredited breaker buyers) will in turn buy more vehicles to dismantle. We
 will also offer this unique service to a number of trade outlets, which will
 create a closed trading community.

 UVS is well positioned to build on the relationships with the motor          
 manufacturers and End of Life Vehicle (ELV) processors to facilitate an easy
 to use, 'one stop shop' recycling. The European Commission's ELV directive
 will make car manufacturers and other economic operators responsible for
 disposing of vehicles from 2001 onwards when those vehicles come to the end  
 of their lives. The Board believes that Universal has a substantial role to  
 play in this market place.
 
 Prospects

 Considerable progress has been made in restoring the business to a more
 acceptable level of profitability as the benefits of the changes made over   
 the last two years are starting to flow through.

 There are significant opportunities to assist our insurance customers in
 reducing their costs in handling claims, and this, combined with the         
 efficient management of motor salvage, gives the Board confidence in our     
 ability to grow our core salvage and auction business. The use of technology 
 will assist in this process considerably.

 At the same time, the Board is committed to continuing to improve and extend
 the services that Universal offers and the launch of StatUS and Universal
 Select, together with our website, not only enhances our core salvage
 activities, but also provides exciting new business opportunities. This
 includes ensuring that Universal plays a full role with the motor            
 manufacturers as they address issues created by the European Directive on End
 of Life Vehicles (ELV).

 This new financial year has started well and I look forward to reporting
 further progress to you as we continue to grow the Company.


 GROUP PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT for the year ended 29 April 2000
 
                              Note          2000          1999
                                           £'000         £'000

 Turnover                                 87,623        89,351
 Cost of sales                           (70,375)      (80,279)
                                          ______        ______                
           
 Gross profit                             17,248         9,072
 Administrative expenses                 (11,995)       (8,833)
                                          ______        ______
                                           5,253           239
 Other operating income                      439           337
                                          ______        ______
 Operating profit                          5,692           576
 Profit on sale of properties                107           193
 Interest receivable                          53             4
 Interest payable                           (306)         (563)
                                          ______        ______
 Profit on ordinary activities
 before taxation                           5,546           210
                                                   
 Tax on profit on ordinary
 activities                      2        (1,691)           (5)
                                          ______        ______
 Profit on ordinary activities
 after tax                                 3,855           205
                                                   
 Dividends                       3          (942)         (269)
                                          ______        ______
 Retained profit/(loss)                    2,913           (64)
                                          ______        ______
                                                   
                                           pence         pence
 Earnings per ordinary share
              - basic            4          14.3p          0.8p               
              - diluted          4          13.7p          0.8p
 Dividends per ordinary share    3           3.5p          1.0p
                                                   
 All operations of the group continued throughout both periods and no material
 operations were acquired or discontinued.

 GROUP STATEMENT OF TOTAL RECOGNISED GAINS AND LOSSES
 for the year ended 29 April 2000
  
                                            2000          1999
                                           £'000         £'000

 Profit on ordinary activities
 after taxation                            3,855           205
 Surplus on revaluation of
 properties                                    -         1,526
                                          ______        ______
 Total recognised gains and                     
 losses relating to the year               3,855         1,731
                                          ______        ______                
              

 GROUP BALANCE SHEET at 29 April 2000

                                            2000          1999
                                           £'000         £'000

 Fixed assets                                       
 Intangible assets                            90             -
 Tangible assets                          22,000        18,081
                                                   
 Current assets                                     
 Stocks                                    3,327         3,812
 Debtors                                   4,009         6,124
 Cash at bank and in hand                      8           757
                                          ______        ______ 
                                           7,344        10,693
                                                   
 Creditors: amounts falling due
 within one year                         (10,369)      (11,577)
                                          ______        ______

 Net current liabilities                  (3,025)         (884)
                                          ______        ______                
                      
                                                   
 Total assets less current
 liabilities                              19,065        17,197
 Creditors: amounts falling due 
 after one year                           (2,389)       (3,410)
 Provision for liabilities and 
 charges                                     (21)          (50)
                                          ______        ______
                                          16,655        13,737
                                          ______        ______                
                                   
 Capital and reserves                               
 Called up share capital                   2,691         2,691
 Share premium account                        81            76
 Capital redemption reserve                   30            30 
 Revaluation reserve                       4,232         4,484
 Profit and loss account                   9,621         6,456
                                          ______        ______
 Equity shareholders' funds               16,655        13,737
                                          ______        ______
                                                   

 GROUP STATEMENT OF CASHFLOWS for the year ended 29 April 2000
                                                                              
                                            2000          1999
                                           £'000         £'000
                                        
 Net cash inflow from operating
 activities                                8,249         3,906
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Returns on investment and
 servicing of finance                           
 Interest received                            53             4
 Interest paid (including interest
 capitalised)                               (301)         (555)
 Interest element of finance
 lease rentals                                (8)          (16)
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Net cash outflow from returns on                    
 investment and servicing of finance        (256)         (567)
                                          ______        ______                
                                   
 Taxation                                            
 Corporation tax paid                       (504)         (997)
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Capital Expenditure                                 
 Payments to acquire tangible fixed
 assets                                   (5,641)       (1,599)
 Receipts from sales of tangible
 fixed assets                                784         1,031
                                          ______        ______
                                          (4,857)         (568)
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Acquisitions and disposals                          
 Payments to acquire trades or
 businesses                                 (100)            -
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Equity dividends paid                      (511)         (982)
                                          ______        ______ 
 Net cash inflow before financing          2,021           792
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Financing                                           
 Issue of share capital                        5             -
 Capital element of finance lease 
 rental payments                             (66)         (128)
 Bank and other loans repaid              (1,790)         (575)
                                          ______        ______
                                                    
 Net cash outflow from financing          (1,851)         (703)
                                          ______        ______     
                                     
 Increase in cash                            170            89
                                          ______        ______


 NOTES TO THE PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT

 1.  The accounting policies adopted are consistent with those in the most
     recently published set of financial statements dated 2 May 1999. FRS 15
     has been adopted in the current and preceding year.

     The financial information set out above does not comprise the Company's
     statutory accounts. Statutory accounts for the previous financial year
     ended 2 May 1999 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies. The
     auditors' report on those accounts was unqualified and did not contain
     any statement under section 237 (2) and (3) of the Companies Act 1985.

     The auditors have given an unqualified opinion on the accounts for the
     year ended 29 April 2000 which will be delivered to the Registrar of
     Companies following the annual general meeting to be held on 16 August
     2000.

 2.  Taxation

     The tax charge represents an effective rate of 31.0% (1999: 30.4%).

 3.  Dividends

     A final dividend of £672,710 (2.5 pence per ordinary share), making a
     total for the year of 3.5 pence per ordinary share (1999: 1.0 pence per
     ordinary  share), is proposed to be paid, subject to shareholder         
     approval, on 23 August 2000 to shareholders on the register on 7 July    
     2000.

 4.  Earnings per share

     Earnings per share have been calculated on the profit on ordinary        
     activities after tax of £3,855,000 (1999: £205,000) divided by the
     weighted average number of shares in issue during the year of 26,906,919
     (1999: 26,905,427).
 
     The diluted earnings per share is based on the profit for the year of
     £3,855,000 (1999: £205,000) and all dilutive potential ordinary shares.
     
 5.  Report and Accounts 

     The Report and Accounts will be posted to shareholders on 24 July 2000.
     Further copies can be obtained from the Company's registered office at
     Acrey Fields, Woburn Road, Wootton, Bedfordshire, MK43 9EJ.