Final Results

McBride PLC 11 September 2003 11 September 2003 McBRIDE PLC Preliminary Announcement for the year ended 30 June 2003 McBride supplies over 20 million Private Label household and personal care products each week to Europe's leading retailers. Highlights of the full year are as follows: • Group turnover was £505.0 million, up 4.3% on last year • Group operating profit was £31.1 million (before goodwill amortisation of £1.4 million) up £5.0 million (19%) • Pre tax profit was £26.2 million, up £8.2 million* (46%) • Net debt was £61.1 million, a reduction of £33.8m; interest cover was 8.3x • Basic Earnings Per Share for the full year was 10.2p, up 3.2p* (46%) • Final dividend proposed of 2.1p, up 50% * 2002 comparative excludes £15.8m goodwill write off Mike Handley, Chief Executive, commented: 'These results demonstrate the continuing strength of McBride. The market remains competitive but sales gains in Continental Europe, and continuing operational improvements across the Group have improved profitability. Cashflow remains strong and a substantial reduction in debt has been achieved. Since the year end, trading has been satisfactory.' For further information please contact: McBride plc Mike Handley, Chief Executive 01494 60 70 50 Miles Roberts, Finance Director Financial Dynamics 020 7831 3113 Andrew Dowler Overview • Sales to Continental Europe continue to grow strongly, up 8.6% to £272.9m million. Operating profits from Continental European operations improved 32% to £12.9 million. • Sales to the UK remained the same at £228.5 million. Tight cost control saw profits in the UK operations rise 12.0% to £16.8 million. • Improving working capital management and lower capital expenditure levels have resulted in a significant reduction in net debt - down £33.8m from June 2002 Strategy McBride's strategy is to work in partnership with the major European grocery retailers with Private Label household and personal care products across Europe. The Board is committed to this strategy which continues to serve us well. The objectives include growing sales and profits, improving the return on capital and reducing debt. Key Strengths Amongst our many strengths, two that particularly stand out are innovation and flexible scale. We demonstrate innovation in all facets of our business: product, packaging, manufacturing, logistics, marketing and information systems. Our ability to meet customer demand with minimal lead times makes McBride the preferred partner of many major retailers. Board changes On 1 September we announced the appointment of 2 additional non-executive directors: Ms Christine Bogdanowicz-Bindert and Mr Robert Lee. They bring a wide range of key skills and knowledge to support McBride's growth with particular relevance to our Central and Eastern European markets and our relationships with the chemical industry. Earnings and Dividends Earnings per share were 10.2p for the year, an increase of 46% over last year's 7.0p (excluding the £15.8m goodwill write off in 2002). The recommended final dividend, payable on 28 November 2003, is 2.1p. This represents an increase of 50% over last year's 1.4p. The full year dividend is 2.9p, an increase of 38% over last year's 2.1p. McBride plc intends to pursue a progressive and sustainable dividend policy that takes account of the medium term capital requirements of the Group. Overview of performance It is pleasing to report that the Group's sales, profit and cash generation have continued the improvements of last year particularly benefiting from a strong Continental European performance. The Group's inherent strength is its combination of scale of operations and the unparalleled experience of the management team. We have reinforced our Europe wide market leadership by a combination of sales volume growth, cost controls, increased profitability and improved cash generation. Total sales at £505 million were a record for our core household and personal care business and grew by 4.3%. The share of sales outside the UK again represented more than half the Group's turnover at 55% versus 53% in the previous year. Some help was given by the stronger Euro but the underlying volume and value growth in France and Spain were the main sources of the increase in CE business. Whilst the UK, as expected, maintained last year's sales, the strategy to expand sales in CE resulted in growth of 8.6%. Reported sales for Poland were adversely affected by the Zloty's weakness, although sales volume grew steadily. At £31.1 million, the Group's operating profit before goodwill amortisation and the joint venture was up 19%. The competitive pressures between retailers and their undoubted buying power again caused selling price deflation. The Group's strategy to focus on all variable and fixed costs to strengthen margins in these circumstances, has again, led to improved results. However, the marketing, logistical and operational excellence of the business is the best safeguard for future results and customer service levels are the daily benchmarks of performance for all sites and functions. Management's vigorous approach to raising our performance in the management of cash ensured success and has given two clear benefits; interest costs were reduced and the level of borrowings are less than half those at December 2000. We continue to benefit from the high levels of capital investment in the 1990's. Whilst capital expenditure was lower it reflected the on-going levels following the completion two years ago of several major projects. A key area of cash improvement after balancing debtors and creditors has been the management of stock. Here the availability of detailed information for all finished goods and raw material/packaging items from the SAP integrated systems, is helping to improve controls thereby reducing stock levels and improving customer service. In terms of customer satisfaction, it is very pleasing to everybody involved in the UK business to have achieved two outstanding 'firsts' last year. For a record breaking third consecutive year the UK was voted by buyers as 'Best in Class' for the household goods sector in the Grocer magazine survey. This was followed in June by the Gold Award for Private Label excellence in competition between ten product sectors. The buyers voted McBride better than many well-known food, drink and non-food companies. UK The market continues to be very competitive as the large retailers compete on all aspects of their customer offer. Last year saw Private Label sales continue to grow their share of the household products sector as the retailers increased their focus on building store traffic and improving store margins. Despite this growth, Private Label share in our sector still remains below that for 'all commodity groups'. This represents a significant opportunity for our customers and McBride to grow Private Label sales to our mutual benefit. It is therefore encouraging that all Private Label household products held a combined share of 23.7% with strong performance in McBride core categories of Laundry Liquid Sachets +12.3%, Laundry Tablets +1.8% Auto Dishwashing Tablets +3.3% Washing Up Liquids and Toilet Care improving share by +0.9%. Our business in the UK has leading shares in all these categories with modest improvements in sales. The personal care business had an excellent year. Against a continuing backdrop of a difficult market, initiatives were taken to develop the Private Label and Minor Brand offers. Our activities are focused on Hair Care, Bath and Shower products and Oral Care. During the year Private Label grew it's volume share of the market whilst the value share was marginally lower resulting in slightly reduced sales. It is against this market background that our overall sales in the UK remained unchanged at £228.5m. Having successfully established our position in the Liquid Laundry Sachets sector, the business has once again been at the forefront of innovations with the launch of Powder Pods. The initiative continues the development of offering the consumer the convenience of soluble sachets combined with the cleaning power of Laundry Powders in an easy to use format. Initial sales of the powder pods are encouraging. The UK personal care business continued the improvement in its operational performance established last year as well as gaining new retailer brand contracts. In addition to the successful roll out of SAP, we are pleased that the Bradford delivered an improved performance. The UK business continued its niche brand development programme which saw Surcare, the sensitive skin household product range, grow sales by 24%. This year has also seen the relaunch of Clean'N'Fresh, our value brand of household products, and the launch of Captivate, a personal care range. These niche brands have a key role in the development of sales to the Convenience and Independent trade sectors where the lower absolute levels of volume inhibit Private Label growth. By offering a range of value brands of good quality we believe there is a mutual opportunity to grow sales in these sectors of the Grocery trade. Aerosol Products Limited (APL) Last year we reported that the aerosol joint venture in the UK had been operationally and financially restructured and although it was early days for the new phase of the joint venture we were pleased to report that the losses had been stemmed. It is, therefore particularly pleasing to report that our optimism was justified with a contribution of £0.9m (McBride share, £0.5m) at the Operating Profit level. Sales of £30.1m (McBride share £15.1m) were in line with expectations and the new management team have continued their excellent work in the control of the cost base and are continually working to improve its sales and operating performance. Customer service levels are vastly improved despite some persistent supplier performance difficulties. Continental Europe Our Continental European business (McBride CE) sells in all member States of the European Community in mainland Europe, with its head office located in Belgium and production sites in five member states. As we reported last year, retailer consolidation led by the French multiples and some German and Dutch retailers has created the right environment for Private Label to grow. In Continental Europe, McBride's focus is on growth in all countries especially France and Spain. We entered Spain eight years ago through acquisition and it is now our fourth largest market with significant growth opportunities. Similarly McBride entered the Netherlands through acquisition, however it is a more developed retail market and growth is therefore more difficult. In France substantial progress has been made following a series of small acquisitions to expand our product offer. Development of our relationships with major French retailers has underpinned this growth. McBride has been, for many years, a significant supplier to a number of German retailers outside their domestic market. Indeed two German retailers are already in the Group's Top Ten customers. Germany is the most recent market McBride has started to develop; a sales office was established three years ago and we are now winning contracts to supply in Germany. In the growing Continental European market our reported sales were £272.9m up almost 8.6% in £ Stg with sales in local currency up 2.5% year on year. Sales in Spain and Germany showed impressive 37.4% and 36.0% growth in local currency respectively while The Netherlands improved 6.1% and France our second largest market grew by 5.2% Intersilesia's sales were impacted by the economic downturn in Poland and yet ended marginally up on the previous year in local currency. The main consequences of the weak Zloty were inflation on raw materials and imported products, the latter stimulated a 23% increase in local production volume. By European standards Intersilesia has a state of the art facility and is undergoing value engineering of its cost base to further improve its competitive position. McBride has made excellent progress through it's sales offices in the Hungarian and the Czech Republics with sales up 50% and 140% respectively. From the initial 1999 acquisition in Poland followed by substantial expansion of production and warehousing McBride now has a solid foundation from which it can expand its Central European business. International - Rest of World Rest of World covers all markets outside Europe. Against the backdrop of a stronger Euro and the impact of the Middle East crisis, sales declined by 14%. Operations The Group is the most comprehensively positioned European supplier not only of household and personal care products but of any Private Label product category sold through Grocers. This strength is becoming increasingly recognised by our customers especially given our reputation for Private Label development and expertise in manufacture and supply. Underpinning our commercial strategies is a network of 16 factories, in seven countries including the APL joint venture in the UK. During the year the closure of the Industrial and Institutional products factory on the Estaimpuis site in Belgium was announced. This non-core activity comprised two major customers who are in the process of re-sourcing their requirements with full co-operation between us. All financial consequences of this small closure have been reflected in these results. Production sites focus on product technologies and we therefore have 2 laundry powder units, 2 aerosol units, 2 personal care units and 10 household liquids units. The number of household liquids sites is a direct consequence of the need to avoid the transport costs of shipping products over large distances. During the last 10 years a net £186.6m has been invested in capital equipment in addition to various acquisitions. Our plants are well invested and achieve world class standards. Investment in SAP information systems across the Group is enabling the business to focus on operational performance. This received further impetus during the year as we improved measurement and benchmarking matrices based on Group wide common nomenclature and definitions. This programme focused on capacity utilisation, productivity, efficiency of mixing, filling and blow moulding and will continue to strengthen the Group's cost effectiveness into the future. McBride's scale of business in terms of volume, complexity, tighter lead times and speed of change can now be managed on an integrated basis through SAP. The benefits of the information systems investment projects are coming through and will continue to flow going forward. Financial Review Pre-tax profit for the full year was £26.2m, a substantial improvement over the previous year of £18.0m before the write off of goodwill in the joint venture. This improvement was backed by strong cash flows that reduced debt by £33.8m to £61.1m. Between June 2002 and June 2003 the Euro appreciated against sterling by nearly 7%. As over half the Group's activities are based in Euro's this currency movement has impacted upon the consolidated results for June 2003. However, since the Group's UK operations have some direct costs that are denominated in Euro's the overall effect of the stronger Euro on the Group's operating profit and post tax profit is not significant. Turnover grew by 4.3% to £505m, aided by strong organic growth in the Continental European business and a currency translation effect from the strengthened Euro. Improving operating efficiency lifted margins before goodwill amortisation, to 6.2% from 5.4% last year. The Group has experienced a second year of relatively stable raw material prices. Group operating profit therefore rose to £29.7m (£24.8m) whilst Group operating profit before depreciation and goodwill amortisation (EBITDA) increased to £53.0m from £44.7m. The charge for depreciation rose from £18.6m to £21.9m reflecting work on reviewing the asset base. The Group's net interest charge for the year was £3.6m, an improvement from last year (2002: £4.4m) due to lower average borrowings and some modest reductions in interest rates. Group interest cover was 8.3x compared to 5.7x last year. The taxation charge, under FRS19 that requires a full provision for deferred tax, of £7.9m for the year equates to an effective rate of 29% (2002: 26%) based upon profit before goodwill amortisation. This rate is still below the mainstream rate of tax in the countries in which the Group operates due to the recognition of previously written off of ACT. However, the effective tax rate is expected to normalise over the next 2 years as this ACT benefit is exhausted. During the year, the corporate structure of the Group was reorganised to maximise utilisation of ACT and thereby reducing taxation payments. Capital expenditure, which in the full year amounted to £8.5m (2002: £10.5m), was incurred mainly on efficiency improvement projects, new capacity and the continued rollout of the SAP information systems. This lower level of expenditure partly results from the high level of previous year's expenditure combined with a drive to increase existing asset utilisation and efficiency across the Group. This lower level is below our normalised rate of expenditure. Net debt improved significantly throughout the year, falling from £94.9m at June 2002 to £61.1m at the year end despite adverse exchange movements of £(4.0)m. This strong performance was aided by significant improvements in working capital and lower capital expenditure. Cashflow per share, before dividend payments, joint-venture settlement and exchange movements amounted to 23.4p (2002: 12.2 p). Gearing, interest cover and Net Debt/ EBITDA ratios all improved to 78% (2002: 147%), 8.3x (2002: 5.7x) and 1.15 (2002: 2.12) respectively. This directly impacted the Group by reducing the cost of borrowing. The Group's pre tax return on average capital employed was 19.6%, up from 15.0% last year due to better margins and greater asset turnover. Aerosol Products Limited (APL) Following the significant operational and financial restructuring in June 2002, APL has traded profitably and been cash generative throughout the current year. APL's cash generation enabled a reduction in interest bearing working capital and therefore interest charges. APL remains a joint venture, held in the Group Accounts at a net liability of £(1.7)m. Pension Accounting - FRS17 Last year, due to rising costs and uncertainty surrounding investment returns, the UK closed its defined benefit pension scheme to new employees; it was replaced by a defined contribution scheme. The defined benefit scheme currently has 579 active members, 78 pensioners and 412 deferred members. During the year, due to the increasing costs of providing for pensions, the scheme changed the benefits active members will be entitled to receive on future service. Under FRS 17 rules, the valuation of the scheme at the year end showed gross assets amounted to £32.9m (2002: £35.6m) and the liabilities to £47.7m (2002: £42.3m) leaving a shortfall of £10.4m (2002 £4.7m) after taxation. An actuarial valuation is currently underway; any material shortfall will need to be made up over the remaining service lives of the active members; this is currently 11 years. Outlook and Prospects These results demonstrate the continuing strength of McBride. The market remains competitive but sales gains in Continental Europe, and continuing operational improvements across the Group have improved profitability. Cashflow remains strong and a substantial reduction in debt has been achieved. Since the year end, trading has been satisfactory. McBRIDE plc CONSOLIDATED PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT Total Total Year ended Year ended 30 June 30 June 2003 2002 Note £m £m Turnover Continuing operations and share of joint venture 520.1 500.6 Less: share of joint venture's turnover (15.1) (16.6) Total Group turnover 2 505.0 484.0 Cost of sales (301.5) (297.6) Gross profit 203.5 186.4 Distribution costs (27.4) (26.2) Administrative costs Before goodwill amortisation (145.0) (134.1) Goodwill amortisation (1.4) (1.3) Administrative costs including goodwill amortisation (146.4) (135.4) Group operating profit 2 29.7 24.8 Share of joint venture's operating profit/(loss) 0.5 (1.5) Write-off of goodwill in joint venture - (15.8) Profit on ordinary activities before interest 30.2 7.5 Group interest receivable and similar income 0.6 0.6 Group interest payable and similar charges (4.2) (5.0) Share of joint venture's interest payable and similar charges (0.4) (0.9) Profit on ordinary activities before taxation 26.2 2.2 Group tax on profit on ordinary activities (7.9) (5.6) Share of joint venture's tax credit on ordinary activities - 0.2 Profit/(Loss) on ordinary activities after taxation 18.3 (3.2) Equity minority interest (0.1) (0.2) Profit/(Loss) for the year 18.2 (3.4) Dividends proposed (5.2) (3.7) Retained profit/(loss) for the year 13.0 (7.1) Earnings/(losses) per ordinary share (pence) * Basic 10.2 (1.9) * Diluted 10.1 (1.9) * Basic before goodwill amortisation, share of joint 11.0 8.9 venture and non operating items Dividend per share (pence) 2.9 2.1 BALANCE SHEET Group Group Company Company As at As at As at As at 30 June 30 June 30 June 30 June 2003 2002 2003 2002 £m £m £m £m Fixed assets Intangible assets 9.0 10.4 - - Tangible assets 126.1 135.4 0.1 0.2 Investments - - 165.0 155.0 Total fixed assets 135.1 145.8 165.1 155.2 Current assets Stocks 43.3 46.9 - - Debtors 114.7 110.8 15.2 50.6 Cash at bank and in hand 0.7 1.2 - - 158.7 158.9 15.2 50.6 Creditors: amounts falling due within one (148.4) (232.0) (8.8) (41.4) year Net current assets/(liabilities) 10.3 (73.1) 6.4 9.2 Total assets less current liabilities 145.4 72.7 171.5 164.4 Creditors: amounts falling due after more (57.2) (2.4) (5.7) - than one year Provisions for liabilities and charges (7.9) (3.9) - - Investment in joint venture Share of gross assets 3.4 4.3 - - Share of gross liabilities (5.1) (6.1) - - Net investment in joint venture (1.7) (1.8) - - Net assets 78.6 64.6 165.8 164.4 Capital and reserves Called up share capital 17.8 17.8 17.8 17.8 Share premium account 139.3 139.3 139.3 139.3 Profit and loss account (78.5) (92.7) 8.7 7.3 Equity shareholders' funds 78.6 64.4 165.8 164.4 Equity minority interest - 0.2 - - Total shareholders funds 78.6 64.6 165.8 164.4 These financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 10 September 2003 and were signed on its behalf by: M HANDLEY M W ROBERTS Directors CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOW STATEMENT Year Year Year Year ended ended ended ended 30 June 30 June 30 June 30 June 2003 2003 2002 2002 £m £m £m £m Net cash flow from operating activities 61.2 42.3 Returns on investments and servicing of finance (4.3) (4.8) Taxation (6.9) (5.4) Operating cash flow after taxation and finance costs 50.0 32.1 Capital expenditure Cash expenditure on fixed assets (8.8) (10.6) Disposal of fixed assets 0.3 0.1 Net cash outflow on capital expenditure (8.5) (10.5) Acquisitions and disposals Cost of refinancing the joint venture - (16.3) Deferred consideration payments - 1.0 Net cash outflow on acquisitions and disposals - (15.3) Equity dividends paid (3.7) (3.6) Cash inflow before financing 37.8 2.7 Financing (33.7) (9.9) Increase/(Decrease) in cash in the year 4.1 (7.2) RECONCILIATION OF NET CASH FLOW TO MOVEMENT IN NET DEBT 30 June 30 June 2003 2002 £m £m Increase/(Decrease) in cash in the year 4.1 (7.2) Cash inflow from movement in debt 33.3 9.4 Movement on finance leases 0.4 0.5 Change in net debt resulting from cash flows 37.8 2.7 Translation differences (4.0) (4.4) Movement in net debt in the year 33.8 (1.7) Net debt at the beginning of the year (94.9) (93.2) Net debt at the end of the year (61.1) (94.9) CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF TOTAL RECOGNISED GAINS AND LOSSES Year Year ended ended 30 June 30 June 2003 2002 £m £m Profit/(Loss) for the financial year 18.2 (3.4) Unrealised foreign currency differences 1.2 0.5 Total recognised gains and losses relating to the financial 19.4 (2.9) year Prior year adjustment in respect of the adoption of FRS 19 - (5.0) - Deferred tax Total recognised gains and losses since last financial 19.4 (7.9) statements RECONCILIATION OF MOVEMENTS IN SHAREHOLDERS' FUNDS Year ended Year ended 30 June 30 June 2003 2002 £m £m Opening shareholders' funds as previously reported 64.4 72.5 Prior year adjustment - FRS 19 Deferred tax - (1.5) Restated opening balances 64.4 71.0 Profit for the financial year 18.2 (3.4) Equity dividends (5.2) (3.7) Unrealised foreign currency differences 1.2 0.5 Closing shareholders' funds 78.6 64.4 NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS CONTINUED 1) Exchange rates The exchange rates against sterling used for the periods were as follows: Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 Average rate: Euro 1.52 1.61 Polish Zloty 6.29 5.94 Czech Koruna 47.05 52.05 Hungarian Forint 371.0 398.7 As at As at 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 Closing rate: Euro 1.44 1.54 Polish Zloty 6.44 6.18 Czech Koruna 45.39 45.08 Hungarian Forint 382.6 377.8 2) Segmental Information Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 £m £m Turnover by destination is analysed by geographical area as follows: UK 228.5 228.5 Continental Europe 272.9 251.3 Rest of world 3.6 4.2 Group turnover 505.0 484.0 Share of joint venture's turnover 15.1 16.6 Turnover by destination 520.1 500.6 Turnover by geographical origin is analysed as follows: UK 235.8 243.1 Continental Europe 269.2 240.9 Group turnover 505.0 484.0 Share of joint venture's turnover 15.1 16.6 Turnover by origin 520.1 500.6 Turnover by class of business is analysed as follows: Household products 433.9 415.2 Personal care products 71.1 68.8 Group turnover 505.0 484.0 Share of joint venture's turnover 15.1 16.6 Total turnover by class of business 520.1 500.6 2) Segmental Information continued Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 £m £m Operating profit by geographical origin is analysed as follows: UK 16.8 15.0 Continental Europe 12.9 9.8 Group operating profit 29.7 24.8 Non-operating items 0.1 (18.2) Net interest payable (3.6) (4.4) Profit on ordinary activities before tax 26.2 2.2 Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 £m £m Operating profit by class of business is analysed as follows: Household products 25.5 21.1 Personal care products 4.2 3.7 Group operating profit 29.7 24.8 Non-operating items 0.1 (18.2) Net interest payable (3.6) (4.4) Profit on ordinary activities before tax 26.2 2.2 The continuing household business includes goodwill amortisation of £1.4 million. Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 £m £m Non-operating items consist of the following: Share of joint venture's operating profit/(loss) 0.5 (1.2) Share of joint venture's goodwill amortisation - (0.3) Write-off of goodwill in joint venture - (15.8) Share of joint venture's interest payable and similar (0.4) (0.9) charges Total non-operating items before tax 0.1 (18.2) Share of joint venture's tax credit on ordinary - 0.2 activities Total non-operating items after tax 0.1 (18.0) Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 £m £m Net assets by geographical origin are analysed as follows: Continuing operations UK 68.9 82.2 Continental Europe 83.9 84.9 Total operating assets and liabilities 152.8 167.1 Non-operating liabilities (74.2) (102.5) Net assets 78.6 64.6 Non-operating liabilities include cash less short and long-term borrowings, provisions for liabilities and charges and dividends. It is not possible to provide an analysis of the net assets by class of business as a number of the Group's operating sites manufacture both Private Label household and personal care products. Reconciliation of operating profit to operating cashflow Year ended Year ended 30 June 2003 30 June 2002 £m £m Group operating profit 29.7 24.8 Depreciation 21.9 18.6 Goodwill amortisation 1.4 1.3 Loss on disposal of fixed assets 0.1 0.1 Movement in stock 5.3 3.3 Movement in debtors 1.4 (9.6) Movement in creditors 1.4 3.8 Net cashflow from operating activities 61.2 42.3 Notes: 1. The financial information set out above does not constitute the company's statutory accounts for the years ended 30 June 2003 or 2002 but is derived from those accounts. Statutory accounts for 2002 have been delivered to the registrar of companies. Accounts for 2003 will be delivered in due course. The auditors have reported on those accounts; their reports were unqualified and did not contain a statement under section 237(2) or (3) of the Companies Act 1985 2. Share of joint venture. On 5 November 1999 a joint venture, Aerosol Products was set up from the Hull site of Robert McBride Limited and the Thetford site of Nichol Beauty Products Limited. Its results are included in compliance with FRS 9 - Associates and joint ventures. 3. The Annual Report for 2003 will be issued to shareholders on 29th September 2003 and will be available from the Company Secretary at the Company's registered office, McBride House, Penn Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire HP9 2FY; the Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 4th November 2003. 4. The calculation of earnings per share is based on the profit on ordinary activities after taxation and minority interest divided by the average number of shares in issue during the year of 177,639,197 (2002 - 177,639,197). 5. If approved at the Annual General Meeting on 4 November 2003, the final dividend of 2.1p per share will be paid on 28 November 2003 to shareholders on the register at 31 October 2003. This information is provided by RNS The company news service from the London Stock Exchange


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