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Photo-Me International hikes divi as profits jump

By BFN News | 07:24 AM | Friday 07 December, 2012

Photo booth operator Photo-Me International reported pretax profit up 17.4% at £20m (25.9% in CC) in the half-year to end-October, despite a revenue decline of 7.1% to £107.4m(2.1% in CC). Interim dividend is up 20% at 1.5p. All 3 geographic regions increased profits; individually, Germany, Switzerland and Japan were outstanding. Sales and Servicing division returned to profitability. The group formally launched new coin-operated laundry machines; strong growth anticipated. Net cash position was £70m, an increase of £18.2m since year end. John Lewis, Non-Executive Chairman, said; "The Group has again traded well in what is traditionally its stronger half and delivered a record result, despite a currency headwind. A growing estate, tighter management and lower costs have all contributed to this with notable improvements in Germany, Switzerland and Japan and another very good performance in our largest market, France. In addition it is pleasing to report that the Sales and Servicing (S&S) division, whilst smaller than it was, has returned to profitability after an extended period of restructuring. "One of Photo-Me's great strengths is innovation. After almost three years of testing and trialling in France and Belgium, our new laundry product is ready to be aggressively rolled out. If the results achieved to date are repeated on a much larger scale, we anticipate this product will become a significant contributor to profits within three years. "We continued to generate significant levels of cash in the period and the net cash position at the end of October was £70 million, an increase of £18 million since the end of April. We are therefore increasing the interim dividend by 20% and, during the second half of the year, the Board will be considering the options for returning some of this cash to shareholders. "As we always point out, the first half is seasonally the stronger for Photo-Me in terms of profits and we expect this certainly to be the case again. However, the Board remains confident of good progress over the year given that the level of profits in the first half broadly matched the outturn for the whole of the previous year." Story provided by

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