16 August 2004
16th August 2004
Ultraframe's initial results for the month of July indicate that, while sales
were broadly in line with management expectations, profit performance was
significantly below expectations in both the UK and North America. The Board has
undertaken a review of the expected performance at divisional level for the
remainder of the current financial year. Assuming current market conditions
continue, it expects that profit before tax and goodwill amortisation in 2004
should be in the region of £12m.
The Board continues to anticipate recommending total dividends for the current
financial year equal to those declared last year.
Sales for the year to date were 18% down compared with the prior year and remain
in line with the Board's expectations. Sales in July were 8% behind internal
forecasts and pressure on margins has increased, as Ultraframe's markets
continue to be volatile and competitive. Having taken into account these factors
and current expectations for the final quarter as a whole, the Board now
estimates that UK operating profit for the current financial year should be in
the region of £15m.
Core sunroom dollar sales for the year to date were 5% up on the prior year, and
in July were 4% ahead of internal forecasts. However, dollar profit performance
in the month of July was substantially below internal forecasts. Gross margins
were lower than previously expected, mainly due to higher production costs. In
addition, overruns in overhead costs, principally in marketing, further impacted
profit in the month.
Based on the current run rate, sales for the remaining months of the financial
year, whilst higher than those for July, are expected to be lower than
previously anticipated. The Board expects that, notwithstanding management
action, the current rate of margin and overhead will continue for the remainder
of the financial year. As a consequence, dollar profit for the year as a whole
is now expected to be significantly below expectations, although the Board
anticipates that the North American business should be marginally profitable for
the current financial year.
Cash flow in the current financial year will be affected by the reduced profit
expectations. The Board now expects that the Group will report a small net cash
outflow in the current financial year. Gearing is expected to remain at modest
In the UK, market conditions are expected to remain volatile and competitive.
The current rate of decline in turnover is expected to slow in 2005, as the
Group's expanded range of budget products builds market share in a segment in
which it is currently under-represented. Profitability is likely to be further
affected by continuing margin pressure, although profit is expected to decline
at a reduced rate in 2005.
In North America, the Board remains committed to the planned roll out of Company
owned retail stores, which continue to trade well. Dollar sales from these
stores are expected to increase significantly in 2005, whilst sales in the
franchise network are expected to grow at a more modest rate. Overall dollar
sales are expected to grow more strongly in 2005 than in the current financial
year on an underlying basis. In conjunction with an increased focus on operating
margins and overhead expenditure, the Board anticipates a modest recovery in
dollar profits in 2005, albeit not at a sufficient level to offset the expected
David Moore Chief Executive 01200 443311
Alan Rothwell Finance Director
Sarah Tovey 020 7404 5959
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