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Victoria PLC (VCP)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Monday 19 November, 2001

Victoria PLC

Interim Results

Victoria PLC
19 November 2001

Issued by Citigate Dewe Rogerson Ltd, Birmingham

Date: Monday, 19 November 2001

     Embargoed: 7.00am

                               Victoria P.L.C.


  * Turnover £16.53 million
  * Operating Profit £738,000
  * Pre-Tax profit £574,000
  * Earnings per share 5.78 pence
  * Strengthened market position despite challenging conditions
  * Continuing benefit in UK from focus on independent retail sector
  * Strong performance from UK Spinning at Westwood Yarns
  * Increasing returns from Castlemaine Spinning investment in Australia
  * Significant investment in new products in the UK and Australia as well
    as in manufacturing facilities
  * Victoria appointed by John Lewis Partnership to manage all JLP's carpet
    warehousing and distribution in the UK

'We anticipate that market conditions will remain difficult for the six months
ahead, and, unless we see an upturn in the Australian market and a return to
more normal trading conditions in the UK in the second half year, which is
traditionally our stronger period, it is perhaps now unlikely that we will be
able to maintain the levels of turnover reported for last year and it is
likely that profits will be significantly less than reported for the year to
March 2001.

'However, our objectives are not affected by short term influences in the
market and we remain confident in the future for the Group. We will continue
to strengthen Victoria's position in the markets it serves and believe this is
the right strategy for building long term value for shareholders.'

                                                         Bob Gilbert, Chairman

                           FULL STATEMENT ATTACHED
Alan Bullock, Group Managing Director
Mark Lee, Group Finance Director                  Fiona Tooley
Victoria P.L.C.                                   Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 01562 749300                                 Tel: 0121 455 8370
Mobile: 07785 325701 (AB)                         Mobile: 07785 703523
Mobile: 07887 753206 (ML)


                               Victoria P.L.C.




This has undoubtedly been a challenging six months for the Group, facing an
extended downturn in the Australian market and a UK market which has, at best,
been level with the previous year.

Against this, we have worked hard to maintain and improve our position in the
markets we supply. We have continued to invest in new plant but, more
importantly, have invested heavily in products in the period, positioning the
business to compete aggressively for an increased share of the market in the
second half year and beyond.

The result for the first six months of the year reflects these market
conditions and the cost of investment in new products.


The Group results for the six months to 29 September 2001 show a profit before
tax of £574,000 on turnover of £16.53 million.

Sales fell 10.5% compared with the first half of last year, held back both by
market conditions and an 8.4% adverse movement in the Australian exchange
rate. Operating profits fell to £738,000, compared to £809,000 last year.
After interest, pre-tax profits were 22.8% lower at £574,000 (September 2000:
£744,000, excluding exceptional items) and earnings per share fell by 21.5% to
5.78 pence (September 2000: 7.36 pence, excluding exceptional items).


For over five months of the period, up to the 11th of September, the level of
activity in the market remained similar to the previous year, with both the
home market and the export market holding up well. For the last 3 weeks of the
period, the market was somewhat unsettled, and we believe that activity fell
quite sharply.

In these markets, Victoria Carpets enjoyed another successful half year. Our
turnover was 2.6% lower, but we managed to achieve a small increase in gross

During the first half year, we invested heavily in the launch of five new
products. The associated launch costs have been taken in the period, duly
reducing the operating profit, which fell slightly compared to last year. The
benefits of these new products should show in the second half as sales build.

Our close relationship with the John Lewis Partnership was strengthened with
an agreement, effective 1st September, for us to provide their new national
carpet distribution centre from our facilities in Kidderminster. This is a
major reward for the efforts we put into customer service and will benefit the
company as it contributes to the cost of running our existing warehousing and
distribution activities.



On a similar theme, we were proud to be voted by the UK's biggest retail
buying group, Greendale Carpets & Floorings for the Service Award as their
supplier of the year for non-woven carpets. A significant part of our key
target market of independent retailers belongs to the buying groups and we are
pleased to enjoy good relationships with all of them.

Westwood Yarns continued to contribute strongly to the Group results. Its
additional heat-setting capacity was commissioned successfully in August, and
the plant now has maximum flexibility to supply either set or unset yarns to
Victoria and other carpet manufacturers. The increased mill capacity is now
being used and is contributing additional profitability to the unit.


The deterioration in market conditions, which we experienced during the second
half of the last financial year, continued into the first quarter of this
financial year before levelling off in the second quarter.

We have responded to these market conditions by striving to maintain
production and sales volumes, and this policy has limited the effect of the
downturn on our results. Sales were 7% lower in volume, but 18% lower in
Sterling terms, due to exchange rates and competitive pressures on pricing.
Profits were affected both by the lower volumes produced and sold, and by the
increased competition for sales. A critical element of competing successfully
is to have an excellent offering of products and we have continued to invest
heavily in this area with a significant increase in our investment in sampling
and retail displays for new products.

Having withdrawn its export subsidies, the Australian government introduced a
new five-year programme of support for textile and floor-covering
manufacturers, from which we have benefited considerably in the period. This
enabled us to maintain the level of operating profit achieved in Australia in
the corresponding period last year.

We are now reaping increasing benefits from the recent upgrading of our
Australian yarn spinning mill, and this strategic investment will continue to
underwrite a strengthening of our Australian business.

We are confidently positioned as the third largest carpet manufacturer in
Australia and are actively investing in the future of the business with the
launch of new products.


The Canadian market remained reasonably active for the period under review.
Our 50% associate, Colin Campbell & Sons contributed £21,000 to Group profit
before tax compared to £34,000 in the corresponding period last year.


The Australian market appears to have stabilised and we are now looking for
the first signs of an upturn there. However, with the uncertainty of world
economic conditions at present, we can not forecast when this will occur.



Predictions for the UK economy appear somewhat contradictory. We are hearing
forecasts that there will be no recession, whilst at the same time seeing only
bad news from businesses. This year, there is the added uncertainty of the
effect that world events will have on the consumer confidence and consumer
spending which drive our business.

Our export business is undoubtedly going to suffer from the current downturn
in the international travel and hospitality industry as hotel groups defer
expenditure. We hope however that this will be relatively short lasting.

In the UK residential carpet market, the traditional autumn upturn is weaker
than usual, although the new products we have introduced this year are
starting to show the right signs of being successful additions to our product
range. We are also now benefiting from the new service revenue from the John
Lewis warehousing and distribution contract. The main concern is over the
level of sales activity if current world events continue to lead to worsening
economic conditions.

Overall, we anticipate that market conditions will remain difficult for the
six months ahead, and, unless we see an upturn in the Australian market and a
return to more normal trading conditions in the UK in the second half year,
which is traditionally our stronger period, it is perhaps now unlikely that we
will be able to maintain the levels of turnover reported for last year and it
is likely that profits will be significantly less than reported for the year
to March 2001.

However, our objectives are not affected by short term influences in the
market and we remain confident in the future for the Group. We will continue
to strengthen Victoria's position in the markets it serves and believe this is
the right strategy for building long term value for shareholders.


                               Victoria P.L.C.

                        GROUP PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT

                                                Six months  Six months Year to
                                                        to          to      31
                                                        29          30   March
                                                 September   September    2001
                                                      2001        2000
                                                 Unaudited   Unaudited Audited
Note                                                 £'000       £'000   £'000
Turnover                                            16,526      18,471  35,320
Cost of sales                                       11,667      13,352  25,166
Gross profit                                         4,859       5,119  10,154
Distribution costs                                   3,315       3,228   5,727
Administration costs                                 1,139       1,139   2,258
Other operating income                                 333          57     204
Operating profit                                       738         809   2,373
Exceptional items     2a                                 -       2,164   2,164
Interest payable                                       185          98     213
Share of profits of associated undertaking              21          33      43
Profit on ordinary activities before taxation  2b      574       2,908   4,367  
Taxation on profits on ordinary activities             173         236     858
Profit for the period                                  401       2,672   3,509
Dividends                                                -       1,046   1,498
Retained earnings                                      401       1,626   2,011
Earnings per share

     - basic 3                                       5.78p      38.68p  50.66p

     - diluted                                       5.78p      38.50p  50.55p

     - excluding exceptional items                   5.78p       7.36p  21.75p
Dividends per share     4                                -       15.0p  21.50p


                               Victoria P.L.C.

                          CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET

                                       29 September     30 September   31 March
                                               2001             2000       2001
                                          Unaudited        Unaudited    Audited
                                              £'000            £'000      £'000
Fixed assets
Tangible assets                              16,208           16,165     15,805
Investment in associated undertaking            269              244        252
                                             16,477           16,409     16,057
Current assets
Stock                                         8,180            8,216      8,791
Debtors                                       6,074            6,446      6,293
Cash                                            270              330         51
                                             14,524           14,992     15,135
Less: current liabilities
Creditors due within one year                 7,529            8,307      7,792
Net current assets                            6,995            6,685      7,343
Total assets less current liabilities        23,472           23,094     23,400
Less: Creditors due after one year            2,691            2,698      2,821
Provision for liabilities and charges           956              810      1,011
Net assets                                   19,825           19,586     19,568
Capital and reserves (equity)
Share capital                                 1,736            1,736      1,736
Share premium account                           829              829        829
Revaluation reserve                           1,980            2,043      1,996
Profit and loss account                      15,280           14,978     15,007
Total shareholders' funds                    19,825           19,586     19,568


                               Victoria P.L.C.


                                                 Six months Six months Year to
                                                         to         to
                                                         29         30      31
                                                  September  September   March
                                                       2001       2000    2001
                                                  Unaudited  Unaudited Audited
                                                      £'000      £'000   £'000
Operating profit                                        738        809   2,373
Depreciation charges                                    707        632   1,287
Loss/(Profit) on sale of fixed assets                   (6)          -       6
Decrease/(Increase) in working capital                  973      1,964     659
Exchange rate difference on consolidation              (70)      (165)   (409)
Net cash inflow from operating activities             2,342      3,240   3,916
Returns on investment and servicing of finance
Dividend received from Associate                          -         13      13
Interest paid                                          (85)       (43)    (81)
Hire purchase interest                                (100)       (56)   (132)
                                                      (185)       (86)   (213)
UK corporation tax (paid)                             (189)      (104)   (451)
Overseas tax paid                                      (74)      (249)   (367)
                                                      (263)      (353)   (818)
Capital expenditure and financial investment
Payments to acquire tangible fixed assets           (1,265)    (2,978) (3,568)
Receipts from sales of tangible fixed assets             25         15      37
Return of capital in associated undertaking               -          -       -
Receipts from exceptional items                           -      2,914   2,914
                                                    (1,240)       (49)   (617)
Equity dividends paid                                 (451)    (1,423) (1,423)
Issue of share capital                                    -        101     101
Debt due within one year
(Repayment of )/increase in secured loans             (201)          -     206
Increase in / (repayment of) long term loans             84      (539)   (134)
Capital element of finance lease and hire             (466)      (240)   (425)
purchase payments
Receipts from financing of assets                         9      1,376   1,344
                                                      (574)        698     991
Increase / (decrease) in cash                         (371)      2,027   1,950


                               Victoria P.L.C.

                       NOTES TO THE INTERIM STATEMENTS


        1.     Basis of preparation

        The results for the year ended 31 March 2001 are extracts from the
        Group report and accounts as filed with the Registrar of Companies.
        These were audited and reported upon without qualification under
        section 235 of the Companies Act 1985.

        2.     Exceptional Items

     a. The exceptional income in the six months to September 2000 represents
        the profit of £2,164,000 on disposal of the Green Street property.

     b. Profit on ordinary activities before taxation:

                                       Six months to     Six months to   Year to
                                        29 September     30 September     31
                                                2001             2000      March
As stated                                        574            2,908     4,367

(including exceptional income)
Less:     Exceptional income                       -           (2,164)   (2,164)
Normalised profit before tax                     574              744     2,203

(excluding exceptional income)

        3.     Earnings per share

             The earnings per share for the 6 month period to 29 September
        2001 are based on 6,943,556 shares in issue throughout the period. The
        earnings per share for the year to 31 March 2001 and the 6 month
        period to 30 September 2000 are based on weighted averages of
        6,926,910 and 6,910,265 shares in issue throughout the respective

        4.     Dividends

                                      Six months to Six months to       Year to
                                       29 September  30 September      31 March
                                               2001          2000          2001
Interim Dividend                                nil           nil           nil
Special Interim Dividend                        nil           15p           15p
Final Dividend                                                             6.5p