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ALBERT FISHER GROUP PLC REPORTS INTERIM RESULTS FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED FEB. 29, 1992

 ALBERT FISHER GROUP PLC REPORTS INTERIM RESULTS
 FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED FEB. 29, 1992
 WINDSOR, England, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of the Albert Fisher Group PLC today announced the unaudited consolidated results for the six months ended Feb. 29, 1992.
 -- Turnover up 16 percent -- 588 million pounds sterling (1991 -- 506 million pounds)
 -- Pretax profits lower by 17 percent -- 37.2 million pounds (1991 -- 45 million pounds)
 -- Earnings per ordinary share lower by 17 percent -- 4.31 pence (1991 -- 5.18p)
 -- Dividend up 6 percent -- 1.85p (1991 -- 1.75p)
 -- Half-year net cash of 14 million pounds (1991 -- 65 million pounds)
 -- Half-year net assets of 253 million pounds (1991 -- 273 million pounds)
 The Albert Fisher Group PLC is a major international food processing and distribution group, operating in Europe and North America in the healthy eating sectors of fruit, vegetables and fish.
 Board Statement -- Group Review
 Trading Background
 In the six months under review the group, in common with many other companies, has faced extremely difficult trading conditions, particularly in two of its most important markets, North America and the U.K. The reduction in earnings was limited by the benefits which the group derives from its geographic spread of markets, from its mix of business to both retail and foodservice customers, from its concentration on the healthy eating segment of the food market and from the cost reductions which have been achieved particularly in the operations most affected by the recession. Although the weak economic climate has caused a temporary decline in demand being experienced from the group's foodservice and catering customers, the overall demand trend for the group's healthy eating products remains positive.
 Earnings
 Unaudited results for the six months ended Feb. 29, 1992, show pretax profits at 37.237 million pounds (1991 -- 44.980 million pounds). These results reflect a reduction of 17 percent in earnings per ordinary share at 4.31p (1991 -- 5.18p). The principal components in the decline in profitability were the effects of recession in North America, where operating profits fell by 3.6 million pounds, and the sharp reduction in average U.K. interest rates of some 3.6 percent which accounted for over 3 million pounds of the 4 million pounds fall in net interest receivable.
 Dividend
 In line with its progressive dividend policy the board proposes an interim dividend of 1.85p (1991 -- 1.75p) per share which will be paid on July 15, 1992, to shareholders on the register on May 15, 1992. Shareholders will again be able to elect to receive their dividend in Albert Fisher ordinary shares and a form of election will be posted on May 22, 1992.
 Strengthening of Board and Management
 Tim Howden, former managing director of Ranks Hovis McDougall PLC, was appointed group chief executive of Europe and a main board director on April 13, 1992. Lenny Pippin, the group chief executive of North America, was also appointed as a main board director on that date. In addition, Pippin has considerably strengthened the underlying management team in North America including the appointment of two regional chief operating officers. The enlarged and strengthened board of executive and non-executive directors has been structured to provide the depth of management skills and experience necessary to move the group forward in the 1990s.
 Financial Position
 The balance sheet remains strong with 14 million of net cash following 47 million pounds of acquisitions, 15 million pounds of capital expenditure and a seasonal investment in working capital in the half-year. Net assets at Feb. 29, 1992, totalled 253 million pounds, excluding acquired goodwill of 293 million pounds.
 Extraordinary Item
 The board statement of Dec. 12, 1991, noted that a decision had been made to dispose of the business of Holco BV. This disposal was completed on March 16, 1992, and the loss on disposal of 5.953 million pounds has been treated as an extraordinary item. In addition, goodwill of 11.622 million pounds written off to reserves on the acquisition of Holco is reflected as an extraordinary item.
 Divisional Review -- Europe
 Fresh Produce
 The European fresh produce operations achieved pretax profits of 6.995 million pounds compared with pro forma profits (based upon the division as constituted during the six months ended Feb. 29, 1992, and applying the same average exchange rates) of 6.710 million pounds for the previous year. Fruco, the German distributor acquired in September 1991, had a satisfactory half-year. It established two new branches in eastern Germany on April 1 and the first benefits of this investment are expected to show through in the second half of 1992/3. The capital investment at the Aartsen depots at Breda and Venlo in Holland over the past two years has enabled its produce distribution profits to increase significantly compared with previous performance. The U.K. potato packing operation performed disappointingly. In addition, generally lower volumes of fruit are available this year from Spain and Chile due to adverse weather conditions. These product shortfalls are being countered by the strength of the group's international sourcing expertise, the increasing benefits of intra-group co-operation and the more coordinated divisional approach to importing. The purchase of Jacques Onona Limited, a leading U.K. importer of French apples, on April 6, 1992, has further strengthened the group's U.K. produce operations.
 Frozen and Chilled Foods
 The European frozen and chilled operations achieved pretax profits of 11.115 million pounds compared with pro forma profits of 12.457 million pounds for the previous year. Sales in this division comprised fish 61 million pounds, vegetables 43 million pounds and fruit 47 million pounds, with both the fish and the vegetable businesses showing major increases compared with last year due to acquisitions. Weakened U.K. demand for frozen vegetables and cockle supply problems in Holland held back the results. The adverse effects of the Dutch cockle harvest were compensated to some extent by the supply of English cockles for processing and a strong contribution from the German mussel operations.
 Food Processing and Distribution
 The European food processing and distribution operations achieved pretax profits of 8.031 million pounds compared with pro forma profits of 8.112 million pounds for the previous year. Acquisitions in this division during the period were the Hammonds Sauce business (acquired in December 1991) and Conservas Fernandez (acquired by Albert Fisher Larios in December 1991). Substantial further progress is being made in obtaining synergies within this division following the merger of three U.K. operations (Stratford-Upon-Avon Foods, Rowats Foods and Unimerchants) into Fisher Quality Foods. The resulting 90 million pound turnover business is a major producer and distributor of fruit and vegetables in cans and glass jars. Fisher Quality Foods now has a unified sales force and research and development team and new production facilities are being installed at its Falkirk factory which will enable the introduction of new products to be accelerated. In addition, substantial capital expenditure currently taking place at Stratford will make this factory the most efficient canner in the U.K. for the catering industry.
 North America
 The North American fresh produce operations achieved pretax profits of 6.687 million pounds compared with pro forma profits of 10.786 million pounds for the previous year. Although market shares in both the Southeast and West Coast operations have been maintained, the volume of sales to most of the group's major foodservice customers has declined under the impact of the U.S. recession, reflecting a decline in hotel occupancy and in cruise ship, airline and restaurant bookings. However, the strengthened management team has achieved further cost reductions and is making good progress in turning round the results in the merged distribution operation in Los Angeles. New investment is being made to expand the Los Angeles pre-cut salad operations. The Southeastern operations are now showing benefits from the investment made in recent years in a uniform management information system.
 Prospects
 There are signs that the depressed conditions in the U.K. and in North America may have bottomed out although, in the short term, it is expected that weaker conditions in some continental European markets will be experienced. The balance sheet remains strong and the board is confident that the underlying strengths of the group and its focused management should enable a resumption of growth in 1992/3.
 Interim Results for the Six Months Ended Feb. 29, 1992
 The unaudited consolidated results of the Albert Fisher Group PLC for the six months ended Feb. 29, 1992 follow. Results for the six months ended Feb. 28, 1991, and the year ended Aug. 31, 1991, are shown for comparative purposes.
 THE ALBERT FISHER GROUP PLC
 (Pounds in 000s)
 Six months to Year to
 2/29/92 2/28/91 8/31/91
 Turnover(A) 587,625 505,833 1,095,556
 Net operating income 32,828 36,471 74,842
 Interest receivable,
 less payable 4,409 8,509 14,190
 Profit on ordinary
 activities before taxation(A) 37,237 44,980 89,032
 Taxation(B) 10,240 13,045 25,356
 Profit on ordinary
 activities after taxation 26,997 31,935 63,676
 Preference dividend(C) 1,072 1,085 2,144
 Other minority interests 104 122 (85)
 Profit attributable to the
 members 25,821 30,728 61,617
 Extraordinary item:(D)
 Against net book value 5,953 3,732 6,473
 Goodwill write-off 11,622 -- --
 Ordinary dividend 11,120 10,397 22,377
 Retained profit (2,874) 16,599 32,767
 Earnings per ordinary share 4.31p 5.18p 10.36p
 Dividend per ordinary share 1.85p 1.75p 3.75p
 NOTES:
 (A) -- Analysis of turnover and profit on ordinary activities before taxation.
 The unaudited information in respect of the six months ended Feb. 28, 1991, is provided both as published last year and as adjusted to apply the same average exchange rates and to include the results of those companies within the group in the six months to Feb. 29, 1992, as if they had been part of the group for the corresponding periods of the six months ended Feb. 28, 1991, and is set out below:
 Six months to: 2/29/92 2/28/91 2/28/91
 (Unaudited) (Adjusted) (Unaudited)
 Turnover Profit Turnover Profit Turnover Profit
 (Pounds in
 000s)
 Europe:
 Fresh
 produce 168,621 6,995 168,950 6,710 119,205 5,614
 Frozen & chilled
 foods 150,972 11,115 145,239 12,457 114,539 10,635
 Food
 processing &
 distribution 92,113 8,031 85,024 8,112 103,177 9,971
 Total 411,706 26,141 399,213 27,279 336,921 26,220
 North America:
 Fresh
 produce 175,919 6,687 186,157 10,786 168,912 10,251
 Total 587,625 -- 585,370 -- 505,833 --
 Net operating
 income -- 32,828 -- 38,065 -- 36,471
 Total 587,625 32,828 585,370 38,065 505,833 36,471
 (B) -- The taxation charge for the period is a proportion of the anticipated charge for the full year ended Aug. 31, 1992.
 (C) -- The preference dividend is the dividend payable on the 5-7/8 percent guaranteed convertible redeemable preference shares 2004 of Albert Fisher Finance NV.
 (D) -- The extraordinary item in 1991/92 represents the loss on disposal of the business and assets of Holco BV net of a taxation credit of 3.085 million pounds. The extraordinary item in the prior year represents the cost of writing down an investment.
 (E) -- The financial information set out above does not comprise full financial statements within the meaning of the Companies Act 1985. Full accounts of the Albert Fisher Group PLC for the year ended Aug. 31, 1991, on which the auditors gave an unqualified report, have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies.
 (F) -- A report containing full details of the interim results and the board's statement will be sent to shareholders and is available to members of the public on request to the company secretary at the company's registered address.
 -0- 4/23/92
 /CONTACT: Tony Millar or Ian Quinlan of Albert Fisher Group, 0753-857111, or David Brewerton of Brunswick Public Relations, 071-404-5959, or Debra Wasser of Dewe Rogerson, 212-688-6840, both for Albert Fisher Group/ CO: Albert Fisher Group PLC ST: IN: SU: ERN


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