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Brambles Industries (BI.)

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Tuesday 31 August, 2004

Brambles Industries

Final Results - Part 1

Brambles Industries PLC
31 August 2004


31 August 2004


        Brambles reports solid progress for the year ended 30 June 2004
        ---------------------------------------------------------------

Brambles today reported a stronger second half performance resulting in profit
before tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items for the year ended 
30 June 2004 of £307 million, an increase of 7% over the previous year. Profit
after tax before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items increased 8% to
£210 million.

Comparable operating profit in the second half of the year increased by 
£41 million to £211 million compared with the first half of £170 million, due 
to strong improvements in CHEP (across all regions) and Cleanaway.

A summary of the key financial results for the year is:

   • Profit before tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items up by 
     7% to £307 million;
   • The impact of currency translation favourably affected profit before tax, 
     goodwill amortisation and exceptional items by £2 million;
   • Profit after tax before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
     increased by 8% to £210 million;
   • Profit after tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items (after 
     minority interests) was 8% higher at £126 million, an increase in constant 
     currency of 6%;
   • Free cash flow was £249 million, an increase of £157 million over the
     previous year;
   • Capital expenditure was £58 million lower than the previous year at 
     £398 million;
   • Earnings per share before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
     increased by 8% to 12.4 pence; and
   • Earnings per share after goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
     increased by 9% to 7.5 pence, and grew in constant currency by 6%.

Commenting on the results, Brambles Chief Executive Officer, David Turner, said:
'We made solid progress for the year. The increase in second half comparable
operating profit of £41 million over the first half was an excellent outcome. In
addition, cash flow was strong and for the full year Brambles generated free
cash flow of £249 million, a surplus of £110 million after dividends. The 
improvement in free cash flow of £157 million over the previous year reflects 
our disciplined approach to capital expenditure and tighter management of 
working capital.'

                                1
Currency, percentage comparison and GAAP conventions are set out on page 3.


'This year, CHEP delivered significant profit improvement in each of its key
regions, the costs associated with the CHEP Europe restructuring have been
completed, and the profitability in all regions grew strongly in the second half
of the year led by CHEP USA.

'We are targeting continued generation of free cash flow as the concentration on
value management continues across Brambles. The business is performing well in
the early part of the current financial year and this, together with our
focus on further operational improvements, is expected to form the basis for
good progress in 2005.'


2004 Highlights
---------------
Group
-----

   • Sales from continuing businesses grew 7% to £3,109 million with growth
     in all businesses;

   • Comparable operating profit for continuing businesses increased 6% to 
     £380 million;

   • Operating cash flow after gross capital expenditure improved significantly to
     £339 million;

   • Brambles generated free cash flow of £249 million, a surplus of 
     £110 million after dividends;

   • Exceptional charges were £48 million (£50 million after tax);

   • The translational effect of currency movements on profit before tax,
     goodwill amortisation and exceptional items was £2 million favourable on the
     Sterling result but A$57 million unfavourable on the equivalent Australian
     dollar result;

   • Net debt was £1,395 million, compared with £1,607 million at 30 June
     2003; and

   • Final dividend for shareholders in Brambles Industries Limited is 10 cents 
     per share, fully franked. Second interim dividend for shareholders in
     Brambles Industries plc is 3.918 pence per share.

Business Units
--------------

   • CHEP delivered strong growth in comparable operating profit of 13% to 
     £224 million, an increase of 14% in constant currency. Sales increased by 9%
     to £1,394 million, up 11% in constant currency. Capital expenditure fell by
     £64 million to £264 million;

   • This solid sales growth, combined with lower costs and the
     non-recurrence of one-off charges in the USA, saw the comparable operating
     profit for CHEP Americas in constant currency terms increase 89% in the
     second half over the first;

   • CHEP Europe restructuring costs of £38 million were charged as an
     exceptional item in 2004. Costs of the CHEP Europe restructure, announced in
     November 2002, were in line with expectations. The net headcount reduction
     of 350 has been achieved and the two new administration centres in Spain and
     the UK are now operational;

   • As expected, Cleanaway's comparable operating profit for 2004 was 7%
     lower at £89 million, and in constant currency 10% lower. However,
     comparable operating profits increased by £3 million in the second half of
     the year over the first half due to significantly improved results in the
     UK;

                                    2
Currency, percentage comparison and GAAP conventions are set out on page 3.


   • As anticipated, Recall had a challenging year but all regions delivered
     sales growth. Comparable operating profit was 12% lower at £43 million, and
     in constant currency 10% lower, due to its European operations. Recall is
     expected to resume profit growth in 2005;

   • Brambles Industrial Services improved comparable operating profit by 21%
     to £34 million, an increase in constant currency of 14%, on slightly lower
     sales (due to non-core asset disposals) and had another strong year of
     generating operating cash flow; and

   • Regional Businesses delivered 25% growth in comparable operating profit
     to £5 million led by a turnaround in Interlake.

Currency, percentage comparisons and GAAP conventions are set out on page 3

Notes:
All Sterling amounts are presented in UKGAAP and quoted at actual exchange rates.
Constant currency relative performance is calculated by translating both current
period and comparable period results into Sterling at the actual monthly
exchange rates applicable for the comparable period. Its purpose is to show
relative performance between periods before the translation impact of currency fluctuations.
Where only one percentage comparison appears, the actual and constant exchange rate 
calculations give the same rounded result. 
Comparable operating profit is defined as profit before interest, tax, goodwill
amortisation and exceptional items.
Free cash flow is defined as cash flow generated by the business after net capital
expenditure, interest and taxation but excluding the net cost of acquisitions
and proceeds from business disposals.

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)414 239 188 (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 31 August 2004. This
will be webcast and available with supporting slides on www.brambles.com


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Note: Currency, percentage comparison and GAAP conventions are set out on page 3









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