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BLUE CIRCLE INDUSTRIES ANNOUNCES RESULTS FOR YEAR ENDED DEC. 31, 1991; PROFIT BEFORE TAX TOTALS 124.2 MILLION POUNDS ($232.3 MILLION)

BLUE CIRCLE INDUSTRIES ANNOUNCES RESULTS FOR YEAR ENDED DEC. 31, 1991;
 PROFIT BEFORE TAX TOTALS 124.2 MILLION POUNDS ($232.3 MILLION)
 NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of Blue Circle Industries PLC today announced the preliminary results for the year ended Dec. 31, 1991.
 The main figures are:
 BLUE CIRCLE INDUSTRIES PLC
 (In millions of pounds sterling)
 1991 1990
 Sales 1,113.8 ($2,082.8) 1,214.7 ($2,271.5)
 Profit before tax 124.2 ($232.3) 195.0 ($364.7)
 Earnings per share:
 Basic 13.6p (25.4 cents) 24.5p (45.8 cents)
 Fully diluted 13.6p (25.4 cents) 22.9p (42.8 cents)
 Dividends per share 11.25p (21.0 cents) 11.25p (21.0 cents)
 The directors have recommended a final dividend of 7.5p (14.0 cents) per ordinary share.
 The following were the main contributions towards the group's operating profit for 1991 which, after exceptional costs of 16.5 million pounds ($30.9 million), amounted to 147 million pounds ($274.9 million):
 -- Profits from the group's Cement, Concrete and Aggregates businesses amounted to 98.5 million pounds ($184.2 million) compared with 131.0 million pounds ($245.0 million) in 1990, a decline of 25 percent largely caused by the continuing economic recessions in the United Kingdom and United States. This decline was partly offset by an improved overall contribution from the group's other overseas businesses.
 -- In difficult markets, home products achieved profits of 42.6 million pounds ($79.7 million) compared with 42.9 million pounds ($80.2 million) in 1990, helped in particular by strong performances from the heating division and Ceramica Dolomite.
 -- Property profits were 11.6 million pounds ($21.7 million) compared with 15.3 million pounds ($28.6 million) in 1990 in a continuing depressed market.
 The group's net debt increased from 262.1 million pounds ($490.1 million) to 306.3 million pounds ($572.8 million) at the end of the year. The balance sheet remained strong and group interest was covered 6.5 times.
 The analysis of sales and operating profit after exceptional costs is as follows:
 BLUE CIRCLE INDUSTRIES PLC
 Sales Sales
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 (In millions of pounds) At $1.87:1 pound
 Class of business:
 Cement, concrete
 & aggregates 619.8 696.2 1,159.0 1,301.9
 Home products 386.6 378.0 722.9 706.9
 Property 39.9 28.9 74.6 54.0
 Other operations 67.5 111.6 126.2 208.7
 Total 1,113.8 1,214.7 2,082.8 2,271.5
 Operating Profit
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 (In millions of pounds) At $1.87:1 pound
 Class of business:
 Cement, concrete
 & aggregates 98.5 131.0 184.2 245.0
 Home products 42.6 42.9 79.7 80.2
 Property 11.6 15.3 21.7 28.6
 Other operations (5.7) 6.9 (10.7) 12.9
 Total 147.0 196.1 274.9 366.7
 Sales Sales
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 (In millions of pounds) At $1.87:1 pound
 Geographical analysis
 (by origin):
 United Kingdom 765.4 889.3 1,431.3 1,663.0
 Mainland Europe 51.4 15.6 96.1 29.2
 United States 219.0 244.4 409.5 457.0
 Chile 57.0 47.5 106.6 88.8
 Africa 20.3 17.7 38.0 33.1
 Asia 0.7 0.2 1.3 0.4
 Total 1,113.8 1,214.7 2,082.8 2,271.5
 Operating Profit
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 (In millions of pounds) At $1.87:1 pound
 Geographical analysis
 (by origin):
 United Kingdom 71.8 127.7 134.3 238.8
 Mainland Europe 12.5 4.1 23.4 7.7
 United States 11.5 18.4 21.5 34.4
 Chile 14.8 12.8 27.7 23.9
 Africa 17.7 19.2 33.1 35.9
 Asia 18.7 13.9 35.0 26.0
 Total 147.0 196.1 274.9 366.7
 In accordance with U.K. accounting standards, BCI's share of the results of related companies is included within the operating profit analyses but not in the sales analyses.
 Cement, Concrete and Aggregates
 Blue Circle Cement
 The downturn in U.K. construction became more severe in 1991, with total output value in real terms falling 9 percent from the previous year. Demand for cement in the United Kingdom fell by approximately 17 percent compared with 1990, as did Blue Circle Cement's (BCC) sales volumes at 6.6 million tons.


BCC's operating profit, after an exceptional cost of 8.0 million pounds ($15 million) relating to redundancy costs and provisions, was 32.9 million pounds ($61.5 million) compared with 68.1 million pounds ($127.4 million) in 1990.
 Cost savings continued to be achieved throughout the business. Indexed production costs, adjusted for volume and inflation, were 10 percent below the 1990 level. In BCC as a whole the number employed was reduced by 11 percent during 1991, but with increased training and better systems the service to customers was further improved. Considerable progress was made towards the establishment of Total Quality, aiming to involve all employees in the continual improvement of every aspect of the business.
 Capital expenditure was tightly controlled. The 25 million pounds ($46.8 million) optimization of Plymstock, Aberthaw and Westbury continued as planned towards completion in 1992, in order to achieve important capacity, efficiency and environmental gains.
 Progress was also made by Blue Circle's Danish associate, Aalborg Portland. The depressed domestic market restricted its profit contribution but a significant increase in exports was achieved and a major cost reduction program is underway.
 Blue Circle America
 Construction activity in the United States declined further in 1991 and Blue Circle America's (BCA) operating profit was 11.5 million pounds ($21.5 million) compared with 18.4 million pounds ($34.4 million) in 1990.
 Demand for cement fell by 12 percent in BCA's markets. BCA's sales volumes increased by 3 percent, including sales from its Harleyville, South Carolina works acquired in February 1991. Excluding Harleyville, the decline in BCA's cement volumes was less than that of the market, due to the strategy of maintaining high plant utilization by displacing imported cement and increasing sales to its own concrete operations.
 In a very weak Georgia market, the fall in Blue Circle Aggregates' volumes was less than that in the market as a whole, because of several large road work contracts, although there was a decline in average selling prices. Blue Circle Williams experienced severely reduced concrete demand and weak selling prices, but significant cost reductions were achieved. Blue Circle Raia, the concrete and aggregate operation in Northern New Jersey, also operated under very depressed conditions and considerably reduced costs.
 Blue Circle Overseas
 Chile
 Cemento Melon recorded cement sales volume growth of 14 percent over the previous year. The company continued to improve customer service with enhancement of the distribution facilities at the Santiago city terminal for both bagged and bulk supply. Premix concrete also enjoyed a better year with greater volumes and efficiencies. Margins for Emasil's timber business were constrained by the recession in European export markets and the strength of the peso.
 Overall operating profit from the Melon Group totaled 14.8 million pounds ($27.7 million) against 12.8 million pounds ($23.9 million) in 1990.
 Africa
 In South Africa, in spite of a difficult economic climate, the group's share of profits was 11.0 million pounds ($20.6 million), only 7 percent lower than in 1991, because of greater efficiency and cost cutting. Since the year end, the group sold its 42.3 percent shareholding in Blue Circle Limited to its former partners, Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd, for approximately 71 million pounds ($132.8 million).
 Nigeria had a good year with strong cement demand and satisfactory results. In Kenya, buoyant demand and the abolition of price controls produced improved results.
 Asia
 Demand for building materials continued to grow at a very rapid rate in Malaysia. The two cement factories of the group's associate company, APMC, operated to capacity, which is being expanded by 28 per cent. In Singapore demand returned to a high level. The combination of favorable market conditions in both countries and an experienced management team increased the group's share of profits by one third to 16.0 million pounds ($29.9 million).
 Marine Cement increased its operating profit contribution as demand remained strong in all of its markets.
 Home Products
 Operating profit for Blue Circle Home Products (BCHP) of 42.6 million pounds ($79.7 million) was virtually unchanged, after making an exceptional provision of 8.5 million pounds ($15.9 million) against anticipated costs mainly associated with the closure of Armitage Shanks' factory in Barrhead, Scotland. Underlying operating margins in most areas advanced, despite unusually difficult trading conditions.
 Heating
 The United Kingdom heating market, though down approximately 4 percent in 1991, enjoyed a relatively strong second half. Heating profits increased as the real benefits of the merger of Potterton Myson began to be realized. Considerable progress was made in terms of rationalization, productivity improvements and the introduction of new products. The strategy to expand in chosen sectors in Europe was advanced by the acquisition in November 1991 of Thermopanel AB, the leading producer of radiators, valves and towel warmers in Sweden.
 Bathrooms
 The market for bathroom products in the United Kingdom was badly hit by the collapse in commercial building activity, and Armitage Shanks had a difficult year. Overall market share was maintained but margins eroded because of greater pressure on prices. Significant cost savings will be achieved by concentrating the bulk of production on the Rugeley, Staffordshire site and this will also enable Armitage Shanks to meet demand when the market recovers.
 Ceramica Dolomite
 In its first full year's contribution, the Italian sanitaryware manufacturer Ceramica Dolomite produced excellent results. New production facilities to increase capacity and reduce the cost base were commissioned during the year. After the year end the assets of Simi, whose product range is complementary to that of Ceramica Dolomite, were acquired.
 Domestic Appliances
 Despite a further contraction in the market for gas cookers, New World's losses were considerably reduced, largely as a result of new product launches and improved productivity following investment in new production facilities.
 Property
 The markets for both residential and commercial property were particularly difficult during the year and the Property Division's profits were 11.6 million pounds ($21.7 million) compared with 15.3 million pounds ($28.6 million) in 1990. However, solid progress was made at a number of the group's commercial developments, especially at Crossways next to the recently opened Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford, Kent.
 The group's residential arm, Saxon Homes, continued to develop and expand, increasing its sites and range of housing types. Chafford Hundred, the new town project at Grays, Essex, saw subdued activity, although a large part of a newly planned commercial site was sold to Safeway for the development of a Superstore.
 Other Operations
 Blue Circle Waste Management's profitability was reduced in 1991 largely because its landfill operations saw a decline in volumes of waste brought about by the recession. The first clinical waste incinerator was commissioned at Hillingdon Hospital late in the year. Energy and Waste Systems (EWS), the specialist effluent treatment company, increased profits and in December purchased Clearwater, which makes packaged waste-water treatment systems.
 The brick industry continued to experience both declining volumes and reduced average selling prices. However, Ockley Building Products remained profitable principally because of vigorous cost control.
 BCI's 50 percent share in Croxton + Garry, the industrial minerals company, has been sold to BCI's partner Pluss-Staufer AG of Switzerland after the year end.
 Current Year
 Few signs of economic improvement in the group's principal markets in the U.K. and the U.S. are yet appearing. Blue Circle will continue to contain costs and seek efficiency improvements which will enable it to make a good and solid advance when growth returns to the main economies in which it operates.
 Taxation
 The group's effective rate of tax in 1991 was 28.6 percent compared with 25.4 percent in 1990.
 Dividend
 The directors recommend a final dividend of 7.5p (14.0 cents) per ordinary share in respect of the year ended Dec. 31, 1991, which, together with the interim dividend of 3.75p (7.0 cents), makes a total for the year of 11.25p (21.0 cents) /1990 11.25p (21.0 cents)/. Ordinary shareholders will again be given the opportunity to choose to take shares in lieu of their dividends, both in respect of the final dividend for 1991 and any interim dividend for 1992.
 Annual General Meeting
 The annual general meeting will be held on May 27, 1992, and the proposed final ordinary dividend will, if approved, be paid on July 10, 1992, to shareholders on the register at the close of business on May 8, 1992.
 NOTE: Dollar figures represent the U.K. sterling results of Blue Circle Industries PLC converted to U.S. dollars at $1.87 which is the noon buying rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Dec. 31, 1991.
 -0- 4/15/92
 /CONTACT: Miranda Evans of Blue Circle Industries, in the U.K.: 011-44-71-828-3456, or Thomas C. Franco, or Eileen M. Halsch of Broadgate Consultants, 212-229-2222, for Blue Circle Industries/ CO: Blue Circle Industries PLC ST: IN: CST SU: ERN


TS-PS -- NY008 -- 8555 04/15/92 09:53 EDT
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