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Universe Grp. (UNG)

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Monday 19 February, 2001

Universe Grp.

Final Results

Universe Group PLC
19 February 2001

For Immediate Release                                  Monday, 19 February 2001

                                UNIVERSE GROUP PLC

             preliminary results for the year ended 31 december 2000

Universe Group Plc, the retail and information systems company, is pleased to
announce its unaudited preliminary results for the year ended 31 December

Key Points:

*         Turnover up 37% to £48.5 million (1999: £35.5 million on a
          continuing basis)

*         Operating profit before goodwill £2.7 million (1999: £1.5 million on
          a continuing basis)

*         Profit before tax (after goodwill amortisation and exceptional
          items) £0.6 million (1999: loss of £0.7 million on a continuing basis)

*         HTEC orders well up from last year

*         Master Change more than doubled its profits

*         Final dividend increased by 12% making 1.12 pence per Share

Ray Mackie, Executive Chairman of Universe Group commented:

'I am pleased to report the tremendous progress we made during 2000.  Our
sales reached £48.5 million and exceeded those for 1999 when the Group
included the businesses that were demerged to form Retail Decisions.
Excluding those businesses the increase in sales was 37%.

'With our expectations for the second half of 2000 fully met, and with our
confidence high after the opening weeks of the current year the Board
recommends a final dividend of 1.12 pence. This dividend, when added to the
interim payment of 0.73p, makes a dividend for the year of 1.85 pence per

For Further Information Please Contact:

Universe Group plc                                                020 7486 9074
Ray Mackie, Chairman

Buchanan Communications                                           020 7466 5000
Charles Ryland / Alison Cole

Chairman's Statement

I am pleased to report the tremendous progress we made during 2000. Our sales
reached £48.5 million and exceeded those for 1999 when the Group included the
businesses that were demerged to form Retail Decisions. Excluding those
businesses the increase in sales was 37%.

Operating profits on a continuing basis rose from £1,461,000 to £2,664,000, an
increase of 82%. This gave us headline earnings of £1,403,000 (5.0 pence for
each 5p share).  With our expectations for the second half of 2000 fully met,
and with our confidence high after the opening weeks of the current year the
Board recommends a final dividend of 1.12 pence.  This dividend, when added to
the interim payment of 0.73p, makes a dividend for the year of 1.85 pence per

At the start of the year a dividend in specie of shares in Retail Decisions
plc on a one for one basis was made to shareholders on the register at 10
January 2000.

Retail and Information Systems

HTEC performance was extremely satisfactory, given the millennial downturn we
suffered at the end of 1999 and in the early part of 2000.  Very good progress
has been made in many areas and we began to sell Gemini EFT products in good
quantities.  There was a marked increase in our OEM sales to Reuters, BT
Syntegra and Optimal.

This has been a year of focus on our service activities where our customer
list includes many UK petrol retailers and several important overseas
accounts, notably BP in Spain, Portugal, Poland and Holland.  To aid the
continuation of expansion in this area we promoted David Minors to the Board
of HTEC on 1 December 2000.  David has been with HTEC for 6 years and is
extremely well qualified for the task.

There are a number of other important developments.  The first, which was
already reported at the half year, was our disposal of the Interclear
development to De La Rue.  The second is our move to a completely new
purpose-built factory adjacent to Southampton International Airport.  Our
systems engineering and data divisions have already moved in and production
will move in during next month. This move is designed to increase both our
efficiency and capacity.  Our original site in Portswood Road is being sold
for redevelopment.

2000 saw further development for Sirius and Gemini and we completed some
innovative internet developments for customers, notably BP in conjunction with
Zon of Holland.  New products are being planned for 2001 and these include a
new touch screen PoS system for petrol forecourts, based on an industry
standard platform.  This new product will be launched and displayed at the
International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment Show (IFFE) at the NEC in Birmingham
in March 2001.

HTEC orders at the start of the year show a considerable improvement on the
position this time last year.

Foreign Exchange Services

Master Change more than doubled its profits.  We opened the year with nineteen
trading sites and added no less than seven high quality, high return sites
during 2000, all of them in France.  This means that we now have eleven sites
in central Paris.  Whilst expanding our shop numbers in accordance with our
original business model, we have been looking at the future and have made
further steps towards opening in Italy and in establishing an international
money transfer business.  This latter development is very exciting.  Once the
system is built it is hoped to commence trading in the second half of 2001.

Accounting and Finance

In line with current accounting standards we have amended our accounting
policy relating to leasehold properties from including them in the balance
sheet at historical cost to including them in the balance sheet at valuation.
This has resulted in an increase in the revaluation reserve of £585,000.


The Board's thanks go to every member of staff for the contribution they each
have made to the Group's progress in 2000.  Barrie Brinkman changed his role
during the period.  Having run HTEC as Managing Director through the period of
its acquisition he remains on the group Board as non-executive director.


My earlier comments on new developments at both HTEC and Master Change give a
good indication of our confidence in entering 2001.

Ray Mackie

Executive Chairman

19 February 2001

Consolidated Profit & Loss Account for the year ended 31 December 2000

                                               Continuing Discontinued Restated
                                          2000       1999         1999     1999
                                         £'000      £'000        £'000    £'000


Continuing operations                   48,477     35,513            -   35,513
Discontinued operations                      -          -       11,937   11,937

Total turnover                          48,477     35,513       11,937   47,450

Operating profit - analysed
Operating profit before
Amortisation of goodwill - continuing    2,664      1,461            -    1,461
 - discontinued                              -          -        2,718    2,718
Amortisation of goodwill - continuing   (1,270)    (1,287)            -  (1,287)
 - discontinued                              -          -        (310)    (310)

Total Operating Profit                   1,394        174        2,408    2,582

Exceptional item    -    demerger         (233)      (200)            -    (200)

Interest receivable and similar income      53        457           30      487
Interest payable and similar charges      (637)    (1,129)            -  (1,129)

Profit on Ordinary Activities before       577      (698)        2,438    1,740

Tax on ordinary activities               (677)       (76)        (911)    (987)

(Loss)/profit on ordinary activities     (100)      (774)        1,527     753
after taxation
Minority Interest                         (32)          -            -       -

(Loss)/profit in financial year          (132)      (774)        1,527     753
Dividends                                (528)                            (454)
Dividends in specie                    (2,905)                               -

Retained (loss)/profit for the          (3,565)                             299
financial year
Profit/(loss) at 1 January               3,335                            3,115
Reversal of merger and acquisition       7,787                              (4)
Exchange differences                      (10)                             (75)

Profit and Loss Account at 31 December   7,547                            3,335

Earnings per 1p Share                               Pence        Pence    Pence
- Basic and Diluted                                (0.56)         1.12     0.56
- Basic Before Amortisation of Goodwill
  and Exceptional Item                               0.55         1.35     1.90

Earnings per 5p Share                    Pence      Pence
- Basic and Diluted                      (0.3)      (2.8)
- Basic Before Amortisation of Goodwill
  and Exceptional Item                     5.0        2.7

Consolidated Cash Flow Statement for the year ended 31 December 2000

                                                                2000      1999
                                                               £'000     £'000

Net Cash Flow from operating activities                        3,944     5,841

Returns on investments and servicing of finance
Interest received                                                 23       487
Interest paid                                                  (536)   (1,129)

Net cash outflow from returns
     on investment and servicing of finance                    (483)     (642)

Taxation                                                       (290)   (1,879)

Capital expenditure and financial investment
Purchase of tangible fixed assets                            (2,269)   (2,827)
Purchase of intangible fixed assets                                -      (10)
Sale of tangible fixed assets                                     37         1
Sale of Inter Clear development                                  674         -

Net cash outflow from capital expenditure and
financial investment                                         (1,558)   (2,836)

Acquisitions and disposals
Costs of demerger                                              (433)         -
Net overdrafts in demerged subsidiaries                          278         -

Net cash inflow/(outflow) from acquisitions and disposals      (155)         -

Equity dividends paid                                          (480)     (410)

Net cash inflow/(outflow) before management of
     liquid resources and financing                              978        74

Management of liquid resources
Sale of listed securities                                        116         -

Capital elements of lease payments                              (62)     (100)
New bank loans                                                 6,200        -
Repayment of bank loans                                      (9,797)   (3,413)
Repayment of other loans                                        (72)        -
Issue of shares net of expenses                                  431      225

Net cash (outflow)/inflow from financing                     (3,300)   (3,287)

(Decrease)/increase in cash in the year                      (2,206)   (3,213)

Balance Sheets as at 31 December 2000

                                                   Group        Company
                                                2000       1999    2000    1999
                                               £'000      £'000   £'000   £'000
Fixed Assets
Intangible Assets                             22,279      29586       -       -
Tangible Assets                                5,539      4,698     862     977
Investments                                        -          -  18,187  18,589

                                              27,818     34,284  19,049  19,566

Current Assets
Stocks                                         2,921      1,574       -       -
   Amounts Due Within One Year                 3,423      4,130      70   3,373
   Amounts Due After One Year                      -          -   5,577   1,760

                                               3,423      4,130   5,647   5,133

Investments                                      157          -       -       -
Cash at Bank                                   1,744      4,268       -       -

                                               8,245      9,972   5,647   5,133

     Amounts Falling Due Within One year     (8,386)    (9,079) (3,805) (8,509)

Net Current (Liabilities)/Assets               (141)        893   1,842 (3,376)

Total Assets Less Current Liabilities         27,677     35,177  20,891  16,190

    Amounts Falling Due After More Than One  (4,965)   (10,023) (4,960) (9,798)

Net Assets                                    22,712     25,154  15,931   6,394

Capital and Reserves
Called Up Share Capital                        1,437      1,351   1,437   1,351
Share Premium Account                          5,016      4,293   5,016   4,293
Revaluation Reserve                              585          -       -       -
Share Capital To Be Issued                         -        365       -     365
Other Reserve                                  8,127     15,914       -      19
Profit and Loss Account                        7,547      3,335   9,478     366

Equity Shareholder's Funds                    22,712     25,258  15,931   6,394
Less Minority Interest                             -      (104)       -       -

                                              22,712     25,154  15,931   6,394

Reconciliation of Operating Profit to net cashflow from operating activities

                                                                  2000     1999
                                                                 £'000    £'000

Operating profit                                                 1,394    2,582

Depreciation and amortisation                                    1,854    3,360
(Profit)/loss on disposal                                        (341)      148
(Increase)/decrease in stocks and work in progress             (1,174)      278
Decrease/(increase) in debtors                                 (1,110)    (923)
Increase/(decrease) in creditors                                 3,321      721
Decrease in provisions                                               -    (325)

Net cash inflow from operating activities                        3,944    5,841

Notes to Preliminary Announcement for the year ended 31 December 2000

1.   Dividends

     The Board is recommending a final dividend of 1.12p on each 5p ordinary    
     share. Taken with the interim dividend of 0.73p paid on each 5p ordinary   
     share paid in 2000, this gives a total of 1.85p subject to the approval at 
     the Annual General Meeting to be held on 19 April 2001.

2.   Earnings per ordinary share

     The calculation of basic earnings per ordinary share is based on an
     earnings loss of £100,000 (1999: £753,000 profit) and on 28.1 million 5p
     ordinary shares.

     An adjusted earnings per share has been provided to eliminate the effect   
     of goodwill amortisation and the exceptional item.  This is in accordance  
     with the IIMR method and is presented as in the opinion of the directors   
     this allows a better comparison of underlying performance.

3.   Financial Information

     The financial information set out in the announcement does not constitute  
     the Company's statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2000.  The
     financial information for the year ended 31 December 1999 is derived from  
     the statutory accounts for that year which have been delivered to the      
     Registrar of Companies.  The auditors reported on those accounts; their    
     report was unqualified and did not contain a statement under section 237(2)
     or (3) of the Companies Act 1985.  The statutory accounts for the year     
     ended 31 December 2000 will be finalised on the basis of the financial     
     information presented by the Directors in this preliminary announcement and
     will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies following the Company's    
     Annual General Meeting.

a d v e r t i s e m e n t