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THE BOC GROUP REPORTS RESULTS

 MURRAY HILL, N.J., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The BOC Group announced today the following results for the nine months to June 30, 1993:
 -- Turnover increased by 12 percent but half of this was due to exchange rate movements. Operating profit less interest increased by 4 percent, but would have declined 1 percent at constant exchange rates.
 -- The gases business reported a modest profit improvement in dull market conditions. Economic recovery prospects have yet to show through in any general improvement in demand for industrial gases.
 -- Improved profits from the health care equipment businesses only partly offset the decline in pharmaceutical profits due to generic competition for FORANE anaesthetic.
 -- The vacuum technology business continued to generate better profits than a year ago, and distribution services also achieved a satisfactory performance.
 The BOC Group turnover increased 12 percent to $3,571.7 million. Operating profit for the nine months to June 30, 1993 was $484.2 million, up 6 percent over the same period last year. Operating profit less interest increased 4 percent to $388.6 million, but would have declined by 1 percent without the benefit of exchange rate movements. Earnings per share were .4953 cents, down 1 percent.
 The BOC Group's gases activities during the third quarter took place in a disappointing economic environment. The U.S. recovery in the last few months has slowed, recovery in Australia has stalled, the Japanese economy is still affected by policy paralysis and, while the U.K. shows recovery, its focus seems to be on sectors which have so far had relatively little impact on gas demand.
 The environment for Health Care was similarly lethargic. The current uncertainty about the scope of the promised Clinton reforms is clearly beginning to delay purchasing decisions for hospital equipment in the U.S.
 The only positive economic factor is the generally favorable impact of exchange rate movements on business results.
 Against this background, and the prevailing statements coming from the industry, the gases businesses held their own. Performance improved somewhat in the USA, South Africa, North Pacific, South and West Asia, but was down from last year in the South Pacific and European regions. The BOC Process Plants engineering business continued to suffer from unsatisfactory order levels.
 Despite the generally difficult economic environment, BOC is taking opportunities to further strategic objectives by expanding business into new areas. Industrial gas businesses in both Poland and Germany have been acquired since March, and a cylinder distribution operation was opened in southern Germany last month.
 The three medical equipment divisions continued to benefit from cost improvements and performed well in a market characterized by the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. health care cost containment initiatives. However, the Pharmaceutical Products Division was increasingly affected by generic competition for the anaesthetic pharmaceutical FORANE. The deterioration in its profitability more than offset the improvement in the equipment divisions. With one generic competitor, BOC now expects to retain about half the U.S. market for FORANE.
 The new anaesthetic agent, SUPRANE, has been well received in the U.S. market, but it will be some time before it makes a significant contribution to earnings. SUPRANE has recently been approved for marketing in the U.K. This should be followed by several other European approvals in the coming months.
 The vacuum technology businesses have performed better than last year, with a particularly strong recovery by Edwards High Vacuum, based on better conditions in the U.S. electronics industry. The profit from BOC Distribution Services also improved.
 Given the persistently disappointing economic climate around the world and the decline in profit of Pharmaceutical Products Division, it now looks likely that the group will not quite match last year's level of operating profit less interest.
 BOC GROUP RESULTS (Unaudited)
 (Dollars in millions)
 Periods ended Nine months Year to
 6/30/93 6/30/92 9/30/92
 Turnover, including share
 of related undertakings $3,571.7 $3,196.2 $4,265.4
 Less: share of related
 undertakings 179.9 143.3 195.9
 Turnover 3,391.8 3,052.9 4,069.5
 Operating profit 484.2 454.9 612.2
 Goodwill write-off on
 disposal of operations (3.0) -- (174.5)
 Profit on disposal of
 operations -- -- 20.9
 Reorganization costs -- -- (37.8)
 Profit on disposal of
 fixed assets on
 continuing operations 4.2 0.7 2.4
 Profit on ordinary activities
 before interest (A) 485.4 455.6 423.2
 Interest (95.6) (81.8) (102.8)
 Profit on ordinary activities
 before tax 389.8 373.8 320.4
 Tax (B) (133.5) (124.1) (163.4)
 Profit on ordinary activities
 after tax 256.3 249.7 157.0
 Minority interests (21.5) (14.3) (20.8)
 Profit for the period 234.8 235.4 136.2
 Earnings per share net basis,
 undiluted (C)(in cents)
 - on published profit
 for the period 49.53 49.87 28.82
 - before goodwill write-off 50.17 49.87 65.78
 (A) Profit before interest includes the share of profits of related undertakings of $31.0 million (1992 9 months: $24.4 million; 1992 year: $33.7 million).
 (B) Overseas tax included in the tax charge amounted to $81.1 million (1992 9 months: $68.2 million; 1992 year: $92.8 million). Related undertakings tax amounted to $7.3 million (1992 9 months: $6.7 million; 1992 year: $8.8 million).
 The number of shares used in the earnings per share calculation was 474.0 million (1992 9 months: 472.0 million; 1992 year; 472.2 million).
 Turnover and Operating Profit by business was as follows:
 Nine months to June
 1993 1992
 Turnover Operating Turnover Operating
 Profit Profit
 (Dollars in millions)
 Gases and related
 products $2,530.5 $340.5 $2,220.7 $323.3
 Health Care 659.5 109.8 578.7 108.8
 Vacuum & Distribution 381.7 34.3 300.8 18.2
 Corporate -- 1.0 -- 0.6
 Continuing operations 3,571.7 485.6 3,100.2 450.9
 Discontinued operations -- (1.4) 96.0 4.0
 3,571.7 484.2 3,196.2 454.9
 Year to September 1992
 Turnover Operating
 Profit
 (Dollars in millions)
 Gases and related products $2,949.3 $428.4
 Health Care 790.3 147.2
 Vacuum & Distribution 419.4 29.4
 Corporate -- 3.1
 Continuing operations 4,159.0 608.1
 Discontinued operations 106.4 4.1
 4,265.4 612.2
 Turnover and Operating Profit by region was as follows:
 Nine months to June
 1993 1992
 Turnover Operating Turnover Operating
 Profit Profit
 (Dollars in millions)
 Europe $1,014.7 $149.8 $946.5 $142.6
 Africa 311.4 59.5 278.2 60.6
 Americas 1,238.5 157.8 1,049.9 148.0
 Asia/Pacific 1,007.1 118.5 825.6 99.7
 Continuing operations 3,571.7 485.6 3,100.2 450.9
 Discontinued operations -- (1.4) 96.0 4.0
 3,571.7 484.2 3,196.2 454.9
 Year to September 1992
 Turnover Operating Profit
 Europe $1,290.4 $201.8
 Africa 366.2 75.7
 Americas 1,399.9 198.3
 Asia/Pacific 1,102.5 132.3
 Continuing operations 4,159.0 608.1
 Discontinued operations 106.4 4.1
 4,265.4 612.2
 THE BOC GROUP
 Condensed Balance Sheet (Unaudited)
 As at June 30, 1993
 As at June 30 As at Sept. 30
 1993 1992
 (Dollars in millions)
 Fixed assets
 Tangible assets $3,350.7 $2,971.4
 Intangible assets 69.4 --
 Related undertakings
 and other investments 290.0 229.6
 Working capital (excluding
 bank balances and
 short-term loans) 499.4 476.6
 4,209.5 3,677.6
 Shareholders' capital and
 reserves $2,232.8 $2,068.7
 Minority shareholders'
 interests 302.9 235.4
 Non-current liabilities
 and provisions 347.0 302.5
 Net borrowings and
 finance leases 1,326.8 1,071.0
 4,209.5 3,677.6
 NOTES:
 The group has adopted a new accounting policy for material intangible assets. Items such as patents and trademarks acquired by the group are capitalized and written off over the life of the asset. There is no effect on comparative data. Other accounting policies remain unchanged.
 Financial data for the year to Sept. 30, 1992 has been based on the full group accounts for that period. The 1992 accounts received an unqualified auditors' report and have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies.
 All amounts shown in U.S. dollars have been translated at the rate of $1 equals 0.671 pounds sterling which was the rate of exchange applicable on June 30, 1993.
 -0- 8/10/93
 /CONTACT: Nigel Rowe or Christopher Marsay of BOC Group, (in U.K.) 011-44-2-747-47222, or Peter Gavigan of Airco Gases, Corporate Relations Department, 908-771-1512/


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

SH-OS -- NY051 -- 1243 08/10/93 14:06 EDT
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