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MB-CARADON PLC, PARENT OF CLARKE AMERICAN CHECKS IN U.S., REPORTS FIRST HALF YEAR, 1993 FINANCIAL RESULTS

 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Clarke American, of San Antonio, the third largest U.S. printer of checks for banks and other financial institutions with 40 plants in 30 states, is part of MB-Caradon plc of the U.K. MB-Caradon's interim June 30, 1993 financial results are reported in this news release. The company's share price is included daily in the FT-SE 100 Index (Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 Index). Clarke American has 40 plants in 30 states./
 LONDON, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- MB-Caradon plc (London Stock Exchange: MBX), a British company with major U.S. operations, "has made further progress in the first half of 1993," it was reported by Anthony Hichens, chairman, in announcing interim results for the six months ended June 30, 1993.
 The building products and check printing company, headquartered in Weybridge, Surrey, England, reported that operating profit of 51.2 million pounds ($76.7 million) increased by 8.7 million pounds ($12.6 million), an increase of 20 percent, including the benefit of exchange rate movements.
 The Group is seeking approval to acquire certain businesses of RTZ Corporation's Pillar division for a net consideration amounting to approximately 800 million pounds ($1.2 billion) in cash.
 "The sale of our CarnaudMetalbox shares on April 2, 1993 at a net profit of 100.3 million pounds ($150.3 million) has distorted our earnings for the first half year," Mr. Hichens said. "Profit before taxation including this gain was 152.8 million pounds ($228.97 million) compared to 60.6 million pounds ($90.8 million) in the comparable period last year. Likewise, fully diluted earnings per share were 24.5p (36.7 cents) compared to 7.6p (11.38 cents)." However, excluding exceptional items, profit before taxation was 59.5 million pounds ($89.2 million), 2 percent below that of the equivalent period last year. On a comparable basis, earnings per share were 7.2p (10.78 cents) compared to 7.6p (11.38 cents).
 In MB-Caradon's check printing business, which consists primarily of Clarke American, based in San Antonio, Texas, turnover increased by 22 percent and operating profit rose by 6.8 million pounds ($10.2 million), of which 4.3 million pounds ($6.4 million) was due to exchange rate benefits. In the first half of 1993, security printing yielded 46.6 percent of operating profit on 27 percent of MB-Caradon's total turnover. The acquisition of Checks in the Mail, a California-based check manufacturer, was completed on May 28 for $87.5 million.
 "We have taken the decision to restructure the MB-Clarke check printing business in the United Kingdom," Mr. Hichens said. The restructuring costs of 7.0 million pounds ($10.48 million) have been provided as an exceptional item in this half year's account.
 "We continued to improve the margins in the U.S. security printing business through manufacturing efficiencies and facility reorganizations," the MB-Caradon chairman noted. Overall, the return on sales increased from 21 to 24 percent.
 "Our U.S. security printing operation is experiencing increased price competition but continues to improve its operational efficiencies and remains a strong cash generator for the Group," Mr. Hichens continued.
 "In summary, MB-Caradon's overseas businesses are performing satisfactorily and we expect conditions in our U.K. markets to improve. This provides a solid base for the continuing development of the Group, in which the acquisition of the Pillar businesses will be a major step," he concluded.
 NOTE: The figures in this release have been converted from British pounds to U.S. dollars at the rate of 1 pound equals $1.4985.
 -0- 8/27/93
 /CONTACT: Norman Schorr of Schorr, Howard and Megill, 212-935-5555, for MB-Caradon/


CO: MB-Caradon plc ST: Texas IN: FIN SU: ERN

LG-PS -- NY028 -- 6664 08/27/93 13:50 EDT
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Date:Aug 27, 1993
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