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Brambles Industries (BI.)

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Wednesday 25 February, 2004

Brambles Industries

Interim Results - Part 1

Brambles Industries PLC
25 February 2004




News Release

25 February 2004

   Brambles reports interim results for the half year ended 31 December 2003
   =========================================================================

Brambles today reported trading performance in the half year to 31 December 2003
consistent with its expectations and in line with the trading updates given at
the 2003 AGMs.

Commenting on the results, Brambles Chief Executive Officer, David Turner, said:
'The results are as we expected. We have had a significantly stronger cash flow
and net debt is down. Our focus on value is yielding results, and will lead to
sustainable profit growth. Looking forward, while there is much to be done, our
outlook for the year is unchanged, and we expect a better performance for the
second half, leading to good progress for the year as a whole.'

Financial Summary (all percentage comparisons in constant currency)
-------------------------------------------------------------------

   • Revenue from continuing businesses grew by 5% to £1.5 billion
     - CHEP and Recall up 10% and 13% respectively.

   • Comparable operating profit from continuing businesses was down 11% at
     £169 million.

   • Profit before tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items was £131
     million (1H03 £142 million).

   • Profit after tax but before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
     was £91 million (1H03 £97 million).

   • An after-tax exceptional charge of £20 million resulted principally from
     a write down in the carrying value of goodwill in Interlake and continued
     restructuring in CHEP Europe, offset in part by the gain on sale of the
     Meineke business.

   • Profit after tax and goodwill amortisation and exceptional items was £53
     million (1H03 £90 million).

   • Earnings per share before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
     were 5.4 pence, down 5%.

   • The translational effect of currency movements on reported pre-tax
     profits was positive on the pounds sterling results (+£10 million) but
     negative on the Australian dollar results (-$28 million).

   • Strong operating cash flow after capital expenditure of £108 million,
     which was up £92 million.

   • Capital expenditure was down a further 12% on the same period last year
     to £222 million.

   • Net debt was £1,558 million, compared with £1,688 million last December.

   • Interim dividend for shareholders in Brambles Industries Limited remains
     at 10 cents, 100% franked. Interim dividend for shareholders in Brambles
     Industries plc is 4.155 pence.

Business Summary
----------------

   • CHEP Americas: revenue was up 10%. In CHEP USA, the transition to the
     new service centre network during 2003 led to a build up of pallets awaiting
     repair. The programme to move these excess pallet stocks into the service
     centres and repair them is completed and the pallets are now back in the
     operational pallet pool. Short term costs were approximately £11 million.

   • CHEP Europe: revenue was up 8%, pricing initiatives are being
     implemented to reflect the cost to serve customers, restructuring programme
     is on track.

   • CHEP Rest of World: continued to perform strongly.

   • Cleanaway: municipal business continued to benefit from recent contract
     wins, technical waste and commercial and industrial markets remained
     difficult.

   • Recall: revenue and comparable operating profit were up 13% and 5%
     respectively.

   • Brambles Industrial Services: made encouraging progress in the Northern
     Hemisphere and continued its strong growth in Australia.

   • Regional Businesses: there were signs of recovery for Interlake.

David Turner said: 'Across all our businesses, our continued focus on the
efficient use of capital and on cash generation is reflected in the results for
the first half, with operating cash flow after capital expenditure £92 million
higher than a year ago and net debt significantly reduced.

'We now have in place quality programmes across our businesses which are
delivering improvements in customer service and operational efficiency.

'We expect a better performance in the second half and plan to keep the market
fully informed of progress, with a further trading update in mid-May.

'Looking further ahead, we have today released Objectives and Milestones which
provide a strategic framework within which the Group will operate. It reaffirms
our approach and commitment to delivering significant improvements in
shareholder value. We have set out clear targets for revenue growth, cash flow,
return on capital and financial gearing. These targets will provide a context
for monitoring performance as we drive to maximise the full potential of
Brambles.

'With the recent announcement of Mike Ihlein as Brambles Chief Financial
Officer, we have a strong team which is committed to developing the full
potential of all Brambles businesses.'



Notes:
 • All comparisons are quoted at constant exchange rates.
 • Comparable operating profit is defined as profit before interest,
   tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items.


For further information, contact:

UK

Investor    Sue Scholes, Head of Investor Relations          +44 (0)20 7659 6012
                                                             
Media       Richard Mountain, Financial Dynamics             +44 (0)20 7269 7291
                                                             
Australia

Investor    John Hobson, Head of Investor Relations          +61 (0)2 9256 5216
                                                             +61 (0)414 239188
                                                             (mobile)

Media       Jeannette McLoughlin, Group General Manager      +61 (0)2 9256 5255
            Corporate Communications                         +61 (0)401 990425
                                                             (mobile)

                Brambles is globally headquartered in Australia

An analysts briefing will be held in London at 8.30am on 25 February 2004. This
will be webcast and available with supporting slides on www.brambles.com








                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange