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W.H. Ireland Group (WHI)

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Monday 15 March, 2004

W.H. Ireland Group

Final Results

W.H. Ireland Group PLC
15 March 2004


15th March 2004

                             W H IRELAND GROUP PLC

                              PRELIMINARY RESULTS
                        FOR THE YEAR TO 30 NOVEMBER 2003

W H Ireland Group provides private client and institutional stockbroking,
independent financial services and corporate finance services. Based in
Manchester, it has a network of offices in the UK, including London, Birmingham
and Cardiff.

                                   KEY POINTS

• Turnover increased by 43.8% to £9.26 million (2002: £6.44 million)

• Operating profit of £0.50 million (2002: loss £1.06 million)

• Pretax profit of £0.19 million (2002: loss £1.54 million)

• Increased final dividend of 0.75 pence per share proposed (2002: 0.50
  pence) making total dividend for year of 1.25 pence (2002: 1.0 pence)

• Excellent year in Corporate Finance - third most active Nominated
  Adviser in 2003 with 10 flotations

• Expertise in mining sector enhanced with increased research coverage

• Successful expansion of our private client stockbroking operation

• Current prospects very encouraging, with the improved business trend
  continuing through the first quarter of the current financial year

Laurie Beevers, Chief Executive of W H Ireland, commented:

'I am pleased to report a significant turnaround in our performance for the
year. Our improvement in sales was sustained throughout the year, with
stockbroking income picking up significantly in the second half of the year.
That growth in revenue is continuing and the business has traded above budget
for the first quarter of the new financial year'.

Press enquiries:

W H Ireland Group plc                                       Tel: 0161 832 6644

Laurie Beevers, Chief Executive
David Youngman, Managing Director


CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

I am delighted to report a return to profitability in the year to 30 November
2003, with trading in the second half building strongly on the first half.
Reflecting our confidence, we are proposing an increased final dividend of
0.75p, making a total dividend of 1.25p for the full year.

When we joined the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange
plc ('AIM') in July 2000, we had a number of medium term strategic goals. These
were to build up a significant corporate finance operation; to increase our
corporate broking capability; to open more offices around the country; to
strengthen our existing stockbroking offices; and, to substantially increase our
funds under management. I am very pleased to report that, despite the last three
years having encompassed one of the most extreme bear markets the stock market
has experienced, we have achieved these goals and more.

Last year we were one of the top three brokers nationally for the number of AIM
flotations in which we acted as Nominated Adviser ('Nomad') - a remarkable
achievement for a regionally based broker. We have built up our branch network,
including the acquisition by mutual agreement of a competitor's branch in
Cardiff, making us one of the largest brokers in the Principality. Our
activities in Wales were further strengthened in November 2003, by the
acquisition of a highly respected IFA business, Ingram Phillips. Our London
office has also had an excellent year.

In a difficult period for stockmarket investment, our funds under management
have grown from £152 million at the beginning of this financial year to £209
million at the year end, an increase of 37%. We continue to pursue all our key
objectives both by a combination of organic growth and acquisition.

Mohammed Marafie, who has been a director for seven years has decided to retire
from the Board. Mohammed has always been a fully committed and supportive member
of the Board, particularly in its formative years prior to the IPO, and his
direction and assistance in the listing process was enormously valuable. I would
like to thank him for all his advice and support during that time.

We enter a period of improving stockmarket and economic activity confident that
we have used the last few years wisely to build up our expertise in a number of
areas and lay the foundation for future growth. I would like to thank all our
colleagues for their hard work and tenacity which is now bearing fruit in so
many ways. The current year has started well and, subject to a continuation of
market conditions, we look forward to a further year of growth and measured
expansion.

Sir David Trippier
Chairman


CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S REPORT

I am pleased to report a significant turnaround in our performance for the year,
with turnover increasing by 43.8% to £9.26 million (2002: £6.44 million)
producing operating profits of £0.50 million, compared to a loss last year of
£1.06 million. Our improvement in sales was sustained throughout the year, with
stockbroking income picking up significantly in the second half of the year.
That growth in revenue is continuing and the business has traded above budget
for the first quarter of the new financial year. I am therefore very pleased
that our policy of maintaining and indeed growing our revenue capability during
the bear market has lead to us emerging with a significantly broader base from
which to develop further.

Private Client Stockbroking

Historically, private client stockbroking has been the core of our business and
we now trade from ten offices spread across the country.

Our largest broking office is London which had a good year. A large part of the
London office's business is now discretionary and advisory fund management. We
have also expanded our institutional sales and dealing capability and now act
for a number of hedge funds. During the year the team at Stockholm Investments,
the advisory and discretionary portfolio management business we acquired in
October 2001, achieved their initial earn-out target, and the first deferred
consideration payment of £283,333 was made in December 2002, half in loan notes
and half in shares. Subsequent to the year end the second earn-out target was
reached and the second deferred consideration payment of £283,333 was made,
split equally between cash and shares.

In the Manchester office trading has also improved and we have continued to
expand our funds under management.

In August, we acquired the Cardiff office of one of our larger competitors and
we now have one of the largest stockbroking operations in Wales, with offices in
Cardiff and Colwyn Bay. I would like to welcome on board our new colleagues and
I look forward to a long and successful relationship.

Our other offices in Birmingham, East Lancashire, Preston, Lancaster, Malvern
and Tunbridge Wells are now showing their worth, and together with Cardiff and
Colwyn Bay, account for nearly 20% of our stockbroking income.

Corporate Broking and Institutional Sales

We have considerably expanded this area of our activities. While maintaining our
traditional coverage of small to mid cap stocks, we have enhanced our coverage
of mining stocks. This has been achieved by taking on a further three analysts,
one in London specialising in mining and two in Manchester specialising in
technology, supported by an additional corporate broker in London.

Corporate Finance

This has been a terrific year for our corporate finance department and we now
have teams in London, Manchester and Birmingham transacting local, national and
international business.

Complementing our Nominated Adviser status we have been granted authority by the
United Kingdom Listing Authority to act in all areas of corporate finance work
for Fully Listed companies.

As well as the successful flotation in the first half of the year of Highland
Gold, the second largest company on AIM following its admission, we have acted
as nominated adviser in nine other flotations. This made us the third most
active Nomad on AIM in 2003. We also remain very active in secondary placings.
Our reputation in this area continues to grow and our teams in London,
Birmingham and Manchester are trading strongly.

Financial Services

At the beginning of the year we transferred our IFA business activities, which
we regard as complementary to our stockbroking business, to W H Ireland
(Financial Services) Limited. In November, we acquired the business of the
Ingram Phillips Partnership, an IFA based in Cardiff, in a share and cash
transaction. As well as strengthening our presence in South Wales, the
acquisition will support our existing operation in Manchester. We look forward
to working with Mary and Roy Phillips, the principals of the business. In the
Manchester office we have added to our personnel and are pleased to welcome
Nigel Liptrot and his team who specialise in advising high net worth clients.
The current year has started well and we are looking to expand this company
further and for it to make an increasing contribution to group profits.

Group Developments

We have established a new disaster recovery site at our Preston office, enabling
us to duplicate our back office functions, currently operated out of Manchester,
in the event of an accident or emergency.

As we build up our expertise it is vital we retain the key personnel who
contribute to the firm's development. In order to incentivise staff we have
introduced a number of incentive schemes to help to match performance with
reward.

Our marketing activities have increased during the year as we attempt to bring
greater recognition of the services we offer to a wider audience. Emphasis has
principally been directed to Manchester but is now being broadened.

We continue to explore ways of further strengthening our balance sheet; one such
example being ownership of our head office building in the centre of Manchester.
A recent revaluation, included in the asset figures in the accounts, indicates
that its value has increased by over £500,000 since it was acquired in February
2002.

Staff

My report would not be complete without thanking all of my colleagues for the hard
work they have put in during what has been, to say the least, an exciting twelve
months. We look forward with a degree of confidence to building on this year's
growth.

W.Laurie Beevers

Chief Executive


Consolidated profit and loss account
for the year ended 30 November 2003

                         Note             Year ended                Year ended
                                         30 November              30  November
                                                2003                      2002
                                                   £                         £

Group Turnover
Existing operations                        9,061,635                 6,438,368
Acquisitions                                 199,176                         -
                                         ------------              ------------
                                           9,260,811                 6,438,368

Administrative expenses                   (8,759,317)               (7,497,392)
                                         ------------              ------------
Group operating profit/
(loss)
Existing operations             427,400                (1,059,024)
Acquistions                      74,094                         -
                               ---------               -----------
                                             501,494                (1,059,024)

Share of operating loss                     (130,787)                 (142,614)
in associates
Share of non trading
decrease in net assets                             -                   (71,317)
of associates
                                         ------------              ------------
                                             370,707                (1,272,955)

Other interest
receivable and similar                       151,436                   141,063
income
Amounts written off                          (33,815)                 (153,539)
Investments
Interest payable and                        (299,990)                 (253,582)
similar charges
                                         ------------              ------------
Profit/(loss) on
ordinary activities                          188,338                (1,539,013)
before taxation

Tax on profit/(loss) on     1               (131,895)                  (12,988)
ordinary activities
                                         ------------              ------------
Profit/(loss) on
ordinary activities                           56,443                (1,552,001)
after taxation

Dividends on equity         2               (192,829)                 (145,830)
shares
                                         ------------              ------------
Retained loss for the                       (136,386)               (1,697,831)
year for group
                                         ============              =============
                                                
Earnings per share (in
accordance with FRS 14)

Basic                       3                   0.38p               (10.84) p
Diluted                     3                   0.38p               (10.84) p

Headline earnings per
share (in accordance
with guidelines issued
by UK Society of
Investment
Professionals)
Basic                       3                   1.12p               (10.12) p
Diluted                     3                   1.10p               (10.12) p



Statement of total recognised gains and losses
for the year ended 30 November 2003
                                                      Year ended    Year ended
                                                     30 November   30 November
                                                            2003          2002
                                                               £             £

Profit/(loss) for the financial year before               56,443    (1,552,001)
dividends
Dividends                                               (192,829)     (145,830)
                                                       -----------  -----------

                                                            
Profit/(loss) for the financial year                    (136,386)   (1,697,831)

Unrealised surplus/(deficit) on revaluation of fixed
asset investments                                        459,686      (261,877)
Unrealised surplus on revaluation of properties          505,000        85,165
Taxation refund on previous year's realised surplus           
on revaluation of fixed asset investments                      -       171,320
Taxation on current years realised surplus on
revaluation of fixed asset investments                   (90,873)            -
Non trading increase in net assets of associates               -        15,844
                                                       -----------  -----------
Total recognised gain/(loss) for the year                737,427    (1,687,379)
                                                       ===========  ===========


Note of historical cost profits and losses
for the year ended 30 November 2003
                                                    Year ended     Year ended
                                                   30 November    30 November
                                                          2003           2002
                                                             £              £

Reported profit/(loss) on ordinary activities
before tax                                             188,338     (1,539,013)

Realisation of fixed asset investment revaluation
gains                                                  366,288        377,950
                                                    -----------    ------------

                                                           
Historical cost profit/(loss) on ordinary
activities before taxation                             554,626     (1,161,063)
                                                    ===========    ============
Historical cost profit/(loss) retained for the
year after the provision for taxation and
dividends                                              139,029     (1,148,561)
                                                    ===========   =============



Consolidated balance sheet
at 30 November 2003

                   Note           2003         2003          2002         2002
                                     £            £             £            £
Fixed assets
Intangible assets                         3,229,325                  1,852,672
Tangible assets                           5,205,695                  4,962,955
Investments           4                   2,547,086                  2,453,729
Investments in
associates and                              268,879                    401,528
joint ventures
                                        ------------                -----------
                                         11,250,985                  9,670,884
Current assets
Debtors                    113,831,227                 28,793,806
Investments                     11,209                     17,563
Cash at bank and             5,083,127                  3,005,014
in hand
                          -------------               ------------
                           118,925,563                 31,816,383

Creditors: amounts
falling due within        (117,646,103)               (30,008,821)
one year
                          -------------               ------------
Net current assets                        1,279,460                  1,807,562
                                        ------------               ------------
Total assets less                        12,530,445                 11,478,446
current liabilities

Creditors: amounts
falling due after                        (5,266,628)                (5,114,664)
more than one year
Provision for                                (9,495)                         -
liabilities and charges
                                        ------------               ------------
Net assets                                7,254,322                  6,363,782
                                        ============               ============

Capital and reserves
Called up share                             765,187                    945,578
capital
Shares to be                                283,333                    425,000
issued
Share premium                             1,566,085                  1,299,984
account
Capital redemption                          226,333                          -
reserve
Revaluation                               2,920,863                  2,322,465
reserve
Other reserves                              753,704                    544,634
Profit and loss                             738,817                    826,121
account
                                        ------------               ------------
Equity                                    7,254,322                  6,363,782
shareholders' funds
                                        ============               ============

Consolidated cash flow statement
for the year ended 30 November 2003

                              Year ended                             Year ended 
                             30 November                            30 November 
                                    2003                                   2002
                                       £                                      £

Net cash
inflow/(outflow)
from operating
activities                    2,568,333                             (1,885,264)
Returns on
investments and
servicing of
finance                        (148,554)                              (107,180)
Taxation                        114,581                               (168,909)
Capital
expenditure and
financial
investment                      294,989                             (3,967,888)
Acquisitions and
disposals                      (515,128)                              (549,701)
                             ------------                           -----------
Cash
inflow/(outflow)
before management
of liquid
resources and
financing                     2,314,221                             (6,678,942)
Equity dividends
paid                            (78,666)                              (215,773)
Financing                      (157,442)                             3,937,239
                             ------------                           -----------
Increase/(decrease)
in cash in the
period                        2,078,113                             (2,957,476)
                             ------------                           -----------


Reconciliation of movements in equity shareholders' funds
for the year ended 30 November 2003

                                                           Group         Group
                                                            2003          2002
                                                               £             £

Profit/(loss) for the financial year before dividends     56,443    (1,552,001)
Dividends                                               (192,829)     (145,830)
                                                       -----------  ------------
Loss for the financial year                             (136,386)   (1,697,831)
Surplus/(deficit) on Investment revaluation reserve      459,686      (261,877)
Surplus on Property revaluation reserve                  505,000        85,165
Tax in respect of current year realised surplus on
revaluation                                              (90,873)            -
Tax refund in respect of previous year's realised
surplus on revaluation reserve                                 -       171,320
Non trading increase in net assets of associates               -        15,844
Shares issued in payment of scrip dividends               70,376             -
Shares issued on acquisition of business                 100,000             -
Shares issued in payment of deferred consideration       141,667             -
Transfer from shares to be issued                       (141,667)            -
Redemption of deferred ordinary shares                  (226,333)            -
Transfer to Capital redemption reserve                   226,333             -
Transfer from profit and loss account                   (226,333)            -
Consolidation adjustment on redemption of deferred
ordinary shares                                          209,070             -
                                                       ----------   ------------
                                                         890,540    (1,687,379)

Opening equity shareholders' funds                     6,363,782     8,051,161
                                                       ----------   ------------
Closing equity shareholders' funds                     7,254,322     6,363,782
                                                       ==========   ============

Notes


1. Taxation
                                        Year ended 30  Year ended 30
                                              November      November
                                                  2003          2002
                                                     £             £
Current tax on income for
the period at 30%                              
(2002: 30%)                                    200,778     (265,156)
Offset against prior
year realised gains on                               
investments                                          -      171,320
Offset against
current year's realised                          
gains on investments                             1,330      106,824
Adjustment in respect of                       
prior years                                    (22,113)           -
                                             ----------   ----------
Total current tax                              179,995       12,988

Deferred tax - origination
and reversal of                                (48,100)           -
timing differences
                                             ----------   ----------
Tax on profit /
(loss) on                                      131,895       12,988
ordinary activities
                                             ===========  ==========

Corporation tax payable on
realised investment gains at 30%                92,203      106,824
Losses utilised against this
year's realised investment
gains                                           (1,330)    (106,824)
Losses utilised against
previous year's realised
investment gains                                     -     (171,320)
                                             ----------   ----------
Charged/(credited) to                                   
reserves                                        90,873     (171,320)
                                             ===========  ==========



Factors affecting current tax charge     Year ended 30    Year ended 30
in the year                                   November         November
                                                  2003             2002
                                                     £                £

Profit/(loss) on
ordinary activities before tax                 188,338      (1,539,013)
                                             ===========    ============

Tax on loss on ordinary                         56,501        (461,703)
activities at 30%
Depreciation in excess of                       40,949          31,085
capital allowances
Expenses not
deductible for                                  66,240          67,651
tax purposes
Marginal relief                                      -            (508)
Offset of losses in prior
year                                           (18,453)        171,320
Offset of losses in reserves                     1,330         106,824
Other timing differences                          (431)         17,406
Effects of consolidation                        55,972          80,913
Adjustments in respect of
prior years                                    (22,113)              -
                                             -----------    ------------
Current tax charged
in the year                                     179,995          12,988
                                             ===========    ============

As at 30 November 2003 there were unprovided deferred tax asset balances of
£nil (2002: £18,286) in relation to accelerated capital allowances and £nil
(2002: £34,355) in relation to other short term timing differences.




2. Dividends and other appropriations

                                         Year ended                 Year ended 
                                        30 November                30 November
                                               2003                       2002
                                                  £                          £
Equity shares:
Interim dividend paid at
0.50p per share                              75,156                     71,924
Final dividend proposed at
0.75p per share                             117,673                     73,906
                                           ---------                  ---------
                                            192,829                    145,830
                                           =========                  =========

3. Earnings per share

                                 Year ended              Year ended 
                                30 November             30 November 
                                       2003                    2002 
Profit/(loss) for
the year used for
the basic
calculation                          56,443             (1,552,001)
Goodwill
amortisation                        108,730                102,942
                                 -----------            ------------
Profit/(loss) for
the year used in
the 'headline
earnings'
calculation under
the guidelines
issued by the UK
Society of
Investment
Professionals                       165,173             (1,449,059)
                                 ===========            ===========

Weighted average
number of shares
used in the basic
calculation                      14,796,324             14,321,754
Weighted average
number of options
outstanding for
the period                          154,930                453,997
                                 -----------            -----------
Weighted average
number of shares
used in the
diluted
calculations                     14,951,254             14,775,751
                                 ===========            ===========


4. Fixed asset investments

                            Investment in      Unquoted        Quoted       Total
                               own shares   investments   investments
                                        £             £             £           £
Group
Cost or valuation
At beginning of year               34,707        75,057     2,343,965   2,453,729
Additions                             911        25,085       133,335     159,331
Reclassification of
associate
undertaking                             -        10,730             -      10,730
Revaluation
adjustment                              -             -       459,686     459,686
Gain on fixed
asset investments
previously
written down                            -             -         4,933       4,933
Diminution in
investment value                        -             -       (33,815)    (33,815)
Disposals                         (35,618)            -      (471,890)   (507,508)
                                  --------     ---------   -----------  ----------
At end of                               -       110,872     2,436,214   2,547,086
year
                                  --------     ---------   -----------  ----------

The potential tax charge arsing if the above quoted investments were sold at
their market value is £660,336 (2002: £627,297)

In the consolidated financial statements, the interests in the associated
undertakings are accounted for using the equity method. In the company financial
statements the interests in the associated undertakings are accounted for at
cost.

                    Country of      Principal                   Class and
                    incorporation   activity                    percentage
                                                               of shares held

                                                             Group          Company
Subsidiary
undertakings

W H Ireland         England and     Stockbroking    Ordinary shares Ordinary shares
Limited             Wales                                      100%            100%

W H I Leasing       England and     Leasing         Ordinary shares Ordinary shares
Limited             Wales                                      100%            100%

W H Ireland         England and     Financial       Ordinary shares Ordinary shares
(Financial          Wales           services                   100%            100%
Services) Limited

Readycount          England and     Property        Ordinary shares Ordinary shares
Limited             Wales                                      100%            100%

Stockholm           England and     Investment      Ordinary shares Ordinary shares
Investments         Wales           consultancy                 100%            100%
Limited                             

W H Ireland         England and     Dormant         Ordinary shares  Ordinary shares 
(Stockbrokers)      Wales                                       100%            100%
Limited
                                                              
W H Ireland         England and     Nominee         Ordinary shares             -
Nominees Limited    Wales                                      100%

W H Ireland         England and     Trustee         Ordinary shares             -
Trustees Limited    Wales                                      100%

Fitel Nominees      England and     Nominee         Ordinary shares             -
Limited             Wales                                      100%

Associated
undertakings -

Ultimate Finance    England and     Debt            Ordinary shares  Ordinary shares 
Group PLC           Wales           Factoring               27.48%          27.48%
                                                               


Associated undertakings and joint ventures

On 31 October 2000 a joint venture was set up in Australia by the
incorporation of a company called W.H.I. Securities Pty Limited. W H Ireland
Group plc originally owned a 50% interest in this company which was accounted
for as a joint venture. On 12 December 2001 this stake was diluted to 45% by
the issue of 33,333 new shares to a third shareholder, and the stake was further
diluted to 34.22% on 25 November 2002 by the issue of 105,042 shares to a
fourth shareholder. On 30 May 2003 the holding was further diluted to below
20% when W H Ireland Group plc declined to participate in a rights issue which
raised AUS$ 110,000. Accordingly the company is now included in fixed asset
investments in these accounts.

On 12 June 2002 Ultimate Finance Group plc was admitted to AIM and started
trading as a cash flow finance group from that date. W H Ireland Group plc has a
27.48% interest in the shares of that company which accordingly has been treated
as an associate in these accounts.

5. Financial Information

The financial information in this press release, which has not been audited,
does not constitute Statutory Accounts within the meaning of Section 240 of the
Companies Act 1985.

The Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 30 November 2003 will be
delivered to the Registrar of Companies following the company's Annual General
Meeting. Accounts for the year ended 30 November 2002 have been filed with the
Registrar of Companies, and these accounts contained an unqualified audit report
and did not contain any statements under Section 237 (2) or (3) of the Companies
Act 1985.




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