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Brambles Industries (BI.)

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Wednesday 23 February, 2005

Brambles Industries

Interim Results Part 1

Brambles Industries PLC
23 February 2005




Brambles

23 February 2005


    Brambles reports strong results for the half-year ended 31 December 2004
    ========================================================================

Brambles today reported a strong performance resulting in profit before tax,
goodwill amortisation and exceptional items for the half-year ended 31 December
2004 of £172 million, an increase of 31% over the prior corresponding period.
Profit after tax before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items increased
27% to £116 million.

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

• Sales from continuing businesses were £1.6 billion, an increase of 5%,
  or 9% in constant currency;

• Profit before tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items up by 31%
  to £172 million, an increase of 36% in constant currency;

• Profit after tax before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
  increased by 27% (32% in constant currency) to £116 million;

• Profit after tax, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items (after
  minority interests) was 81% higher at £96 million, an increase in constant
  currency of 87%;

• Free cash flow was £124 million, an increase of £70 million over the
  prior corresponding period;

• Earnings per share before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
  increased by 28% (31% in constant currency) to 6.9 pence; and

• Earnings per share after goodwill amortisation and exceptional items
  increased by 84% to 5.7 pence, and grew in constant currency by 90%.

Commenting on the results, Brambles Chief Executive Officer, David Turner, said:

'This is a strong result for Brambles and I am very pleased that the momentum
seen in the second half of the last financial year has been maintained. We grew
sales solidly, achieved very strong profit growth and generated a net cash flow
after dividends of £57 million.

'Sales grew in all of our businesses. CHEP in particular achieved an outstanding
result with strong sales growth in each CHEP territory and profits up by 48% in
constant currency.

'In the three years since Brambles introduced value based metrics significant
improvements have been made and we are targeting further increases in free cash
flow generation and operational efficiency.

'Overall, we are expecting good progress for both profit and cash generation for
the full year.'




Currency and GAPP conventions are set out on page 3                                     





Brambles


Highlights for half-year ended 31 December 2004
===============================================

Group
-----

• Sales from continuing businesses grew by 5% (9% in constant currency)
  with growth in all businesses;

• Comparable operating profit for continuing businesses of £211 million
  was 25% higher,or 29% higher in constant currency. The improvement benefited
  from the non-recurrence in CHEP USA of £11 million of one-off costs in the
  prior corresponding period;

• Operating cash flow after gross capital expenditure improved
  significantly, by £58 million, to £166 million;

• Brambles generated free cash flow of £124 million, a surplus of £57
  million after dividends;

• The translational effect of currency movements on profit before tax,
  goodwill amortisation and exceptional items was £6 million adverse in
  Sterling. There was no impact in Australian dollars;

• Net debt was £1,345 million, compared with £1,395 million at 30 June
  2004; and

• Interim dividend for shareholders in Brambles Industries plc is 4.156
  pence per share. Interim dividend for shareholders in Brambles Industries
  Limited is 10 cents per share, fully franked.


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

• CHEP Americas sales growth was 2% which in constant currency was an
  increase of 12%. Comparable operating profit almost doubled, up 111% in
  constant currency. Operational improvement programmes have resulted in
  significant reductions in transportation and service centre costs.

• CHEP Europe grew sales by 8% and comparable operating profit by 19%, in
  actual and constant currency. The implementation of the new pricing
  architecture is progressing well and is still expected to be completed by
  December 2005.

• CHEP elsewhere continued to grow well, with strong pre-Christmas trading
  in pallet pooling and new contracts in the container business.

• Cleanaway sales grew 5% (6% in constant currency), with the UK
  particularly strong. Comparable operating profit though was 14% below the
  prior corresponding period in actual and constant currency, reflecting the
  costs of the closure of Cleanaway's international headquarters in London,
  the impact of contract re-tendering in Germany and start-up costs on new
  municipal contracts in Australia. In the UK, the Commercial and Industrial
  business remained under pressure, although there were improvements in other
  segments.

• Recall's performance improved, with sales 4% higher (9% in constant
  currency) and comparable operating profit improving by 5% (14% in constant
  currency). The Document Management Services business performed well
  worldwide, with the UK business in particular showing solid improvements.


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Currency and GAPP conventions are set out on page 3   




Brambles


• In Brambles Industrial Services, sales increased by 1% (4% in constant
  currency) as volumes improved in the Northern Hemisphere steel business.
  Comparable operating profit was steady (up 6% in constant currency) despite
  the adverse short-term effect of lower Pulverised Coal Injection volumes in
  Australia which have since improved.

• Within Regional Businesses, Interlake improved significantly as pricing
  strengthened and previous cost containment measures resulted in improved
  margins.



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.
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       David Besier, Manager Corporate            +61 (0)2 9256 5204
            Communications                             +61 (0)412 473 330 (mobile)


                Brambles is globally headquartered in Australia
                -----------------------------------------------

An analysts' briefing will be held in London at 8.30am on 23 February 2005. This
will be webcast and available with supporting slides on www.brambles.com


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

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