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 MURRAY HILL, N.J., Nov. 16 ~PRNewswire~ -- The announcement of the preliminary results of The BOC Group is attached. Salient points are as follows:
 -- Results follow the new accounting standard FRS 3, which encourages greater transparency in reporting a company's underlying performance. Turnover increased by less than 1 percent. Operating profit increased by 2.6 percent despite severe economic pressures around the world.
 -- Reported profit on ordinary activities before tax of $372.0 million is after a $202.6 million adjustment for goodwill previously written off in businesses that were sold during the year. This adjustment relates mainly to Glasrock and is in accordance with the change in goodwill accounting requirements issued by the Accounting Standards Board.
 -- Operating profit as defined by FRS 3 is stated before exceptional costs, profits from asset disposals and the goodwill adjustment, and is $710.8 million.
 -- The dividend for 1993 is increased by 5.5 percent to 40,140 net~
 -- Cash flow after new investments was positive and out interest charge is covered six times by operating profit. Gearing is 29 percent and at its lowest level since 1987. The 1992 dividend was twice covered by earnings before the goodwill adjustment.
 The BOC Group preliminary announcement of results (unaudited) for the year to Sept. 30, 1992.
 The BOC Group profit on ordinary activities before tax for the year to Sept. 30, 1992 was $372.0 million and our earnings per share were 33.5 cents. This result is distorted by an adjustment of $202.6 million for goodwill written off in respect of disposals - mainly for our home health care business, Glasrock, which was sold in August. This goodwill had been written off our balance sheet previously and therefore is a non-cash item and causes no further change to shareholders funds.
 Without this new accounting treatment, and after adjusting for exceptional items, our profit before tax (operating profit according to FRS 3 less interest) was $591.5 million, an increase of 6 percent over last year. Earnings per share before the goodwill write-off were 76.4 cents, up 7 percent. Despite major fluctuations during the year, exchange rate movements had a minor negative effect on our results overall.
 Patrick Rich, chairman of The BOC Group, commented:
 "Our results show our ability to ride out difficult economic conditions. The group is in good spirits and our finances are sound. Our management actions this year together with the recovery potential in several of our businesses will ensure that we obtain the maximum benefit from better conditions. The recent devaluation of sterling will be of more immediate benefit to our businesses which export from the UK."
 The performance of our gases business has shown modest growth, which owes much to our relentless efforts to improve operating efficiencies and reduce costs. Our vacuum businesses have been the most affected as they rely on capital investment by industrial customers, which has remained badly depressed. Demand for health care products is less directly subject to economic conditions, although some hospital equipment purchasing decisions have been delayed. We have enjoyed a particularly successful year in our pharmaceuticals business, culminating with the US registration of our new anaesthetic SUPRANE in September.
 We are carrying out a major restructuring of our health care business to sharpen its focus on critical care and put it in a better position to take advantage of international marketing opportunities. We have provided $43.9 million as an exceptional item to cover the anticipated costs. This should be seen as a significant investment in future efficiencies and profitability.
 Gases and Related Products
 The turnover of our gases business grew from $3389 million to $3455 million and operating profit increased from $452.3 million to $497.2 million. Exchange rate movements had a $10 million adverse effect on the translation of overseas results. At constant exchange rates, turnover would have increased by 4 percent and operating profit by 12 percent.
 The sustained recession continued to affect our UK sales volumes and kept pressure on prices for the second year running. We achieved a modest overall increase in sales and operating profit, largely by winning new business and by stringent control of costs.
 Overall sales volumes in the United States were essentially flat. A slight improvement in bulk and supply scheme business was offset by a further decline in demand in our retail business, which includes sales of equipment as well as compressed gases. Operating profit increased, largely as a result of management action taken over the past year, which included a reorganization of our business.
 Although there has been no recovery from the long recession and some disruption caused by labor unrest, our company in South Africa had another satisfactory year and reported an improved profit.
 Economic growth continued at a slower pace than last year in the majority of North Pacific countries. In some of our most important markets, there was a decline in the previously rapid growth of industrial production. This was particularly marked in Japan but also affected key industries elsewhere in the North Pacific.
 The Australian economy has been suffering from a prolonged recession. Our sales were essentially flat last year, while prices were static in a low inflation environment. Despite these conditions, a modest improvement in profit was achieved, through improved operating efficiency and cost reductions.
 Health Care
 Turnover increased from $852 million to $887 million but operating profit fell 9 percent to $171.1 million after absorbing a number of additional costs, principally those related to R&D for Delta Biotechnology. This excludes the exceptional provision for reorganization costs. Exchange rate movements had a negligible effect.
 In August we completed the sale of our Glasrock home health care business. This business was profitable throughout the year but no longer fitted with our longer term strategy. Trading profits and accounting adjustments on disposal are shown under discontinued businesses.
 Our equipment businesses achieved lower profits due to lower sales, aggressive price competition in the USA, and several investments in new products and markets.
 Our pharmaceuticals business reported another year of strong growth in sales and profits, attributable to better volumes and prices in our anaesthetics business.
 In September, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved our new anaesthetic SUPRANE to be used for the induction and maintenance of anaesthesia in adults and for the maintenance of anaesthesia in children.
 -0- 11~16~92
 ~CONTACT: Nigel Rowe or Chris Marsay, 011-44-2-767-7222, or Patricia A. Secrist, 201-771-4860, all for both the BOC Group~

CO: The BOC Group ST: New Jersey IN: CHM SU: ERN

LR-OS -- NY051 -- 1281 11~16~92 12:26 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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