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Thursday 01 April, 2004


Final Results

01 April 2004

Embargoed until 07.00                                               1 April 2004

                                  UCM Group PLC

             Preliminary Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2003

UCM, the leading provider of speciality fused minerals, today announces its
preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2003.

Financial Highlights

                                                     Year ended       Year ended
£ Millions                                        December 2003    December 2002

Turnover                                                   32.0             33.7
Profit before tax - before exceptional items                1.8              2.8
Earnings per share - before exceptional items              5.3p             8.1p
Total dividend per share                                   4.5p             7.5p

Key Highlights

• Profit before tax and exceptional items of £1.8m is over 10% ahead of
  the figure predicted in January trading update

• Reorganisation of manufacturing facilities completed but delays and
  manufacturing problems meant that few of the planned savings were achieved
  in 2003

• Standard Zirconia sales, which are now entirely derived from the
  Tennessee plant, increased by 14 per cent

• Magnesia production is now concentrated in Hull (UK) and Alabama (US)
  but competitive pressures reduced sales while Advanced Ceramic Materials
  were unchanged

• Continuing to increase sales efforts in China

• Jamie Brundell appointed Chief Executive from 1 February 2004

• Refocusing of executive management responsibilities

John Gordon, Chairman, commented:

'Highly competitive markets and delays in completing the manufacturing
reorganisation, which meant that anticipated cost savings were not achieved,
resulted in a difficult year. Nevertheless, we have achieved a pre-exceptional
profit ahead of the figure anticipated at the time of the Trading Update.

'The manufacturing reorganisation is complete and the priorities for 2004 are to
optimise manufacturing and to increase sales. Although the trading environment
remains competitive we are aiming for an improved performance in 2004 and
indications for the first two months of the current year show that, so far, this
is being achieved.'

UCM Group PLC                                         (On the day) 020 7067 0700
John Gordon, Chairman                                  (Thereafter) 01785 223122
Jamie Brundell, Chief Executive
Melvyn Fookes, Group Finance Director

Weber Shandwick Square Mile                                        020 7067 0700
Terry Garrett or Alex White or Rachel Taylor

Embargoed until 07.00                                               1 April 2004

                                  UCM Group PLC

            Preliminary Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2003

UCM, the leading provider of speciality fused minerals, today announces its
preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2003.

Chairman's Statement

The past year has been a difficult one for the Group, both as regards to sales,
where markets continue to be highly competitive, and costs, where the delays in
completing the manufacturing re-organisation meant that the cost savings
anticipated for 2003 were not achieved. The pre-tax outcome for the year is
better, however, than was predicted in January's 'Trading Update' when we
expected a result in the region of £1.6 million, caused principally by a higher
than anticipated stock valuation.

Pre-tax profits for the year amounted to £1.8 million before exceptional items
(2002: £2.8 million) on a turnover of £32.0 million (2002: £33.7 million).
Earnings per share for the year were 5.3p before exceptionals, compared with
8.1p in the previous year.


The Board is recommending a final dividend of 2.5p per share which makes a total
for the year of 4.5p (2002: 7.5p). Although mindful of the importance of
dividends to many shareholders, the Board believes that, until evidence of a
trading recovery is clearer, it is prudent to restrict distributions to
available earnings.


2003 saw the completion of the final phase of the re-organisation of the Group's
manufacturing facilities that is intended to reduce both variable and fixed
costs, which is essential if the Group's businesses are to compete effectively
with producers in low cost economies. In the event, delays and manufacturing
problems meant that few of the planned savings were achieved in 2003.

Standard Zirconia sales, which are now entirely derived from the Greeneville,
Tennessee plant, were 14 per cent ahead of the previous year and the bulk of
this increase was in sales to the steel-making sector. However, manufacturing
problems and delays in transferring production from Stafford increased costs
disproportionately in the short term.

Magnesia production is now concentrated in the plants at Hull in the United
Kingdom and Alabama in the United States, with additional production now
beginning to grow from the venture in China with Yingkou Tianhu Magnesia
Industries Limited ('YTMI'). Sales of magnesia in 2003 were 11 per cent below
those for 2002, with strong competitive pressures affecting sales into all
sectors, of which the domestic and industrial appliance sector is the largest.
Deliveries of magnesia from YTMI to customers in China began in 2003 and steps
are now being taken to strengthen the sales capability in China in order to
accelerate this process.

Sales of advanced ceramic materials, which are primarily used in the automotive
sector, have remained static.

Board and Management Changes

As announced last November, Jamie Brundell was appointed Chief Executive of the
Group with effect from 1 February 2004. Bob Hughes stepped down at the end of
January 2004 after 11 years in that role and has agreed to continue as an
executive Director until his retirement which is due in June 2005. Bob Hughes
has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the Group and the
thanks of the Board and shareholders go to him for this.

Following his appointment as the new Chief Executive, Jamie Brundell has
undertaken a review of the organisational structure of the Group.

With immediate effect the Group is to be structured into two divisions namely
Zirconia and Magnesia with Bob Hughes being responsible for the operational
performance of Zirconia, at Unitec Ceramics Limited and Universal America Inc,
and Graham Dughan taking the same role in respect of Magnesia at Electro Furnace
Products Limited and Muscle Shoals Minerals Inc. Walter Johnson is to take
responsibility for the on going development of UCM China Inc. and broader
activities in Asia and will relinquish all other operational responsibilities in
order to focus on this important task. In addition to directing the Group's
overall activities, Jamie Brundell will become directly involved in the Group's
global sales and marketing functions.

As previously announced, Colin Halpern was appointed non-executive Director with
effect from 18th February 2004. Colin Halpern is currently Chairman of Domino's
Pizza UK & IRL Plc.


The changes implemented in 2003 have once again meant that tremendous demands
have been made on our people and the appreciation and thanks of shareholders and
directors go to staff at all levels in the Group.


With the manufacturing re-organisation completed, the priorities for the Group
in 2004 are to optimise manufacturing and to increase sales, both of which the
new management structure is designed to promote. The trading environments in
which the UCM Group operates remain highly competitive but the company is aiming
for an improved performance in 2004 and indications from the first two months of
the year show that, so far, this is being achieved.

31 March 2004

                                    - Ends -

UCM Group PLC                                         (On the day) 020 7067 0700
John Gordon, Chairman                                  (Thereafter) 01785 223122
Jamie Brundell, Chief Executive
Melvyn Fookes, Group Finance Director

Weber Shandwick Square Mile                                        020 7067 0700
Terry Garrett or Alex White or Rachel Taylor

UCM Group Plc
Consolidated Profit and Loss Account
for the year ended 31 December 2003
                                                       Continuing   Continuing
                                                       Operations   Operations
                                                             2003         2002

                                                             £000         £000

Turnover                                                    31956        33713

Cost of sales                                              (25141)      (25741)
 (including exceptional costs of £240,000 - 2002:£199,000)
                                                           _______      _______

Gross profit                                                 6815         7972

Distribution costs                                           (247)        (275)

Administrative expenses                                     (4856)       (4644)
 (including exceptional costs of £332,000 - 2002: Nil)
                                                           _______       ______
Operating profit                                             1712         3053

Interest payable and similar charges                         (471)        (435)
                                                           _______      _______

Profit on ordinary activities before taxation                1241         2618

Taxation on ordinary activities                              (379)        (817)
                                                           _______      _______

Profit for the financial year                                 862         1801

Dividends paid and proposed                                 (1077)       (1795)
                                                           _______      _______
(Loss)/profit for the financial year                         (215)           6
                                                           _______      _______

Earnings per ordinary share

Basic and diluted                                             3.6p         7.5p
                                                           _______      _______
Before exceptional items

Basic and diluted                                             5.3p         8.1p
                                                           _______      _______

UCM Group Plc
Consolidated Balance Sheet
as at 31 December 2003

                                            2003                   2002

                                       £000      £000        £000         £000
Fixed assets

Intangible assets                                 545                      404
Tangible assets                                 16359                    17244
                                              _______                  _______

                                                16904                    17648
Current assets

Stocks                                 7556                  7768
Debtors                                6455                  6942
Cash at bank and in hand                130                   145
                                    _______               _______

                                      14141                 14855

Creditors: amounts falling due
 within one year                    (13546)               (12882)
                                    _______               _______

Net current assets                                595                     1973
                                              _______                  _______

Total assets less current                       
 liabilities                                    17499                    19621

Creditors: amounts falling due
 after more than one year                       (825)                   (1172)

Provisions for liabilities and                  
 charges                                       (1403)                   (1767)
                                              _______                  _______

Net assets                                      15271                    16682
                                              _______                  _______

Capital and reserves

Called up share capital                          1196                     1196
Share premium account                            8402                     8399
Capital redemption reserve                        218                      218
Revaluation reserve                              1689                     1802
Profit and loss account                          3766                     5067
                                              _______                  _______

Shareholders' funds - Equity                    15271                    16682
                                              _______                 ________

UCM Group Plc
Consolidated Cash Flow Statement
for the year ended 31 December 2003

                                            2003                   2002
                                      £000        £000       £000        £000

Net cash inflow from operating                    
 activities                                       2777                   4784

Returns on investments and
 servicing of finance

Interest paid                                    (470)                  (425)


UK corporation tax (paid)            (360)                  (670)

Overseas tax (paid)                  (114)                  (130)
                                 _________                _______

                                                 (474)                  (800)

Capital expenditure

Payments for intangible fixed        
 assets                              (270)                  (224)

Payments for tangible fixed         
 assets                             (1574)                 (4397)

Receipts from sale of tangible         
 fixed assets                          36                      -
                                  ________                _______

                                                (1808)                 (4621)

Equity dividends paid                           (1676)                 (1795)
                                               _______                _______

Cash (outflow) before financing                 (1651)                 (2857)


Issue of ordinary share capital          3                      -

New loans                                -                    532

Repayment of amounts borrowed        (293)                  (231)

Short term borrowings                 2019                   1477
                                    ______                 ______
Net cash inflow from financing                    1729                   1778
                                                ______                 ______

Increase/(decrease) in cash in                      
 the year                                           78                 (1079)
                                               _______                _______

UCM Group Plc
Segmental Information

                                                   Continuing      Continuing
                                                   Operations      Operations
                                                         2003            2002

                                                         £000            £000
Turnover can be analysed as follows:

by destination

United Kingdom                                           2851            2877
North America                                            8940            9852
Continental Europe                                      12852           13237
Central and South America                                 591             560
Asia                                                     5981            6311
Rest of World                                             741             876
                                                      _______         _______

                                                        31956           33713
                                                      _______         _______

by origin

United Kingdom                                          18648           19208
North America                                           13308           14505
                                                      _______         _______

                                                        31956           33713
                                                      _______         _______

by market

Domestic & Industrial Appliances                        17779           19759
Steelmaking                                              6009            5894
Automotive                                               5554            5830
Investment Casting                                         38            (61)
Engineered Ceramics                                       944             957
Other Industrials                                        1632            1334
                                                      _______         _______

                                                        31956           33713
                                                      _______         _______

Net assets can be analysed as follows:

by origin

United Kingdom                                          14102           15358
North America                                           13688           13739
                                                      _______         _______

                                                        27790           29097

Non Operating Liabilities                             (12519)         (12415)
                                                      _______         _______

                                                        15271           16682
                                                      _______         _______

UCM Group Plc
Segmental Information (continued)

                                                 Continuing         Continuing
                                                 Operations         Operations
                                                       2003               2002

                                                       £000               £000
by market

Domestic & Industrial Appliances                      14079              15501
Steelmaking                                            4441               4363
Automotive                                             5885               6885
Investment Casting                                       20                 25
Engineered Ceramics                                    1094                845
Other Industrials                                      2271               1478
                                                    _______            _______

                                                      27790              29097

Non Operating Liabilities                           (12519)            (12415)
                                                    _______            _______

                                                      15271              16682
                                                    _______            _______

Non operating liabilities include net cash/(borrowings), taxation balances,
pension provisions and dividends payable.


In the opinion of the Directors the disclosure of results by market and
geographical origin would be seriously prejudicial to the interests of the

UCM Group Plc

1. The financial information set out above does not constitute the Company's
   statutory accounts for the years ended 31 December 2003 and 2002 within the
   meaning of section 240 of the Companies Act 1985 but is derived from those
   accounts. Statutory accounts for 2002 have been delivered to the Registrar of
   Companies whereas those for 2003 will be delivered following the Company's
   annual general meeting. 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. Earnings per ordinary share is calculated with reference to the profit
   attributable to ordinary shareholders of £862,000 (2002: £1,801,000) and the
   weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year of
   23,932,373 (2002: 23,929,307). There is no dilution in the earnings per share in
   both the reporting period and the comparative year of 2002.

3. If approved a final dividend of 2.5p (net) per ordinary share will be paid on
   28th May 2004 to shareholders on the register at 23rd April 2004.

4. The annual general meeting will be held on 25th May 2004, at the offices of
   Hammonds, Rutland House, 148 Edmund Street, Birmingham B3 2JR.

5. Copies of the 2003 Report and Accounts will be sent to shareholders in due
   course. Further copies will be available from the Company's registered office at
   Doxey Road, Stafford ST16 1DZ.

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

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