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UNITED NEWSPAPERS PLC REPORTS 1993 SIX-MONTH RESULTS: EPS INCREASES 19 PERCENT ON A 7.7 PERCENT REVENUE GAIN; MAINTAINS INTERIM DIVIDEND

 LONDON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- United Newspapers plc (NASDAQ: UNEWY) today reported a 19.0-percent increase in earnings per share to 16.9 pence ($0.50 per ADR) for the first six months of 1993, as compared with 14.2 pence in the six-month period ended June 30, 1992. Operating profits increased 8.7 percent to 61.7 million pounds ($92.2 million) from 56.8 million pounds in the 1992 first half. Pre-tax profit increased 10.4 percent to 51.3 million pounds ($76.6 million) over the 1992 pre-tax figure of 46.5 million pounds.
 Revenues improved 7.7 percent to 447.6 million pounds ($668.4 million) as compared with 415.7 million pounds a year ago.
 "The strengthening of the U.S. dollar and the conversion of the group's Reuters Exchangeable preference shares made a contribution towards this improved earnings performance, as well as the increase in 6-month operating margin to 13.8 percent," Lord Stevens of Ludgate, the Group's chairman, said.
 "The most notable increases in operating profit were in the National Newspapers, U.S. Advertising Periodicals and U.S. Information Services categories. Importantly, this continuing improvement in United Newspapers' performance has been achieved against a difficult economic background in both the U.K and the U.S.," Lord Stevens said. "There are a few signs of economic recovery, but they remain weak. However, I hope to report further progress at the year end."
 The board of directors declared an interim dividend of 7.5 pence, the same as the prior year, payable on Dec. 3, 1993, to shareholders of record Oct. 14, 1993. ADR holders will receive a dividend equivalent to 15 pence per ADR translated at the rate of exchange in effect on the date of payment.
 In the first six months of 1993, acquisition expenditures totaled 12.5 million pounds ($18.7 million). Net debt was reduced 35 million pounds ($52.3 million), or 11.4 percent, to 273.3 million pounds ($408.2 million). On July 1, 1993, a final dividend of 27 million pounds ($40.3 million) in respect of 1992 was paid to shareholders.
 "Also subsequent to the period end, a one-for-five rights issue, announced on June 29, was 96-percent taken up by shareholders, a very satisfactory result," Lord Stevens said. "The proceeds of 190 million pounds ($283.8 million) were received in July and were used to reduce indebtedness. The level of net debt following the rights issue is 80 million pounds ($119.5 million). The rights issue will enhance the group's ability to fund future growth."
 "Interest charges, during the first 6 months, fell by 14 percent, principally due to declines in U.K. interest rates. Overall, United Newspapers' performance in the first half of 1993 was satisfactory, building on the 14-percent growth in full-year operating profits achieved in 1992 and the fact that many of the markets in which United Newspapers operates remain relatively depressed," Lord Stevens said. "Where conditions have been difficult, the Group has generally held market share and continued to control costs. In those areas where market growth has occurred, United Newspapers has benefited.
 SEGMENT REPORTS
 "In the National Newspapers division, the Express titles continued their successful development," Lord Stevens said. "Circulation revenues increased at the Sunday Express, which achieved further copy sales in a declining market. The Daily Express and Daily Star achieved circulation shares comparable to a year ago. Strong advertising revenues, tight cost controls and the continued automation of production contributed to a 16-percent improvement in profit during the first half. This profit growth was achieved in the absence of any cover-price increase during the period."
 "The recent price reductions introduced by News International for The Sun and The Times have had no material effect on the circulation of United Newpapers' national titles," Stevens said. "Cover-price increases were implemented for the Daily Express and the Sunday Express in August and September respectively," the chairman said.
 "The fragile economic recovery in the U.K. has yet to benefit our Regional Newspapers," Lord Stevens said. "Their total revenues increased by only 1 percent. Advertising volume and revenues were marginally below the comparable period of 1992, although this was more than offset by an increase in circulation and contract printing. In the property sector, advertising volume and revenues declined by 10 percent and help-wanted ads dropped 7 percent below last year. However, these declines were largely offset by increased revenues in other advertising categories. Tight cost management ensured that profits were just slightly above those of the first half of 1992."
 "In the U.S.-advertising-periodicals category, the For Rent titles continued their strong performance of recent years, producing a 9-percent profit gain in dollar terms," Lord Stevens said. "Local titles have also seen some advertising gains with circulation improving, as well. This was aided by a new distribution system in the Northeast. National titles in the U.S. also have performed satisfactorily. Competition in U.K.-advertising periodicals continues to be severe and, as a result, excluding certain small acquisitions during the period, advertising volume and revenues were both down approximately 5 percent."
 "Market shares in both business magazines and exhibitions have, on the whole, been maintained," the chairman said. "Growth has continued in the U.S. computer-software and music sectors, but other markets continue to decline. Medical markets in both the U.K. and the U.S. have been affected by uncertainties within the pharmaceutical industry; and the U.K. construction, electronics and engineering markets remain depressed. Overall, advertising volume in the business-magazine business has fallen 8 percent in the U.K. and by 6 percent, before acquisitions, in the U.S. Despite further rigorous cost controls, profits in both business segments, excluding recent acquisitions, were below 1992. Our U.K. specialist-consumer magazines showed a similar trend.
 INFORMATION SERVICES
 Information Services' markets remain highly competitive but PR Newswire enjoyed steady growth in its message volume and revenues. Extel Financial achieved revenue and profit growth in its Work Stations and Data Products services, but no progress was seen in Investment Accounting Services, due to the continuing rationalization in the financial services industry.
 Acquired as part of Extel Group PLC in June 1987, Extel Financial, with investment from United Newspapers, has developed a modern product range of company information, Security Data, News and Investment- Accounting Services. In view of the increasing investment needs of the financial-information industry, the board of directors of United Newspapers now regards the potential of Extel Financial, and the best interests of its customers and staff, could probably best be developed within a larger financial-information business. As a result, United Newspapers has appointed Veronis Suhler & Assoiates of New York to secure the most advantageous bid for the disposal of its interest in Extel Financial.
 United Newspapers in an international publishing company with extensive holdings in the United Kingdom and the United States (including PR Newswire, Miller Freeman and United Advertising Publications in America).
 United Newspapers ADRs (equivalent to two U.K. ordinary shares) are traded on the NASDAQ National Market System.
 Exchange rate is 1 pound equals $1.4935.
 UNITED NEWSPAPERS PLC
 Statement of Results (Unaudited)
 for the six months ended June 30, 1993 and 1992
 (Amounts in thousands, except shares and per share)
 Six months Year ended
 Restated Dec. 31 Pct.
 1993 1993 1992(A) 1992 Change
 (000) (000) (000) (000)
 US$ pounds pounds pounds
 Revenues $668,429 447,559 415,711 831,508 7.7
 Operating
 profit 92,222 61,749 56,797 118,928 8.7
 Associated
 undertakings 93 62 (119) (607) N/M
 Income from
 fixed asset
 investments 279 187 2,154 3,042 -91.3
 Profit on ordinary
 activities before
 exceptional items
 and interest 92,594 61,998 58,832 121,363 5.4
 Profit on sale
 of Reuters
 shares --- --- --- 22,655
 Loss on sales
 and closure of
 businesses (1,144) (766) (390) (11,252) -96.4
 Amounts written
 off investments (747) (500) (1,000) (1,000) 50.0
 Interest, net (14,109) (9,447) (10,984) (21,861) 14.0
 Profit before
 taxation 76,594 51,285 46,458 109,905 10.4
 Estimated
 taxation
 (note 3) (25,658) (17,180) (14,003) (29,972) -22.7
 Profit after
 taxation 50,936 34,105 32,455 79,933 5.1
 Minority
 interest (66) (44) (4,244) (89 99.0
 Group profit
 attributable
 to common
 shareholders $50,870 34,061 28,211 79,844 20.7
 Dividends
 (interim 7.5p)$27,189 18,205 14,951 42,991 21.8
 Earnings per
 ordinary share 16.9p 14.2p 40.1p 19.0
 Earnings
 per ADR $0.50
 Weighted avg.
 no. of shares
 outstanding 201,056,349 198,898,092 199,216,332 1.1
 (A) -- Restated for FRS3 - See note 1
 Currency translation rate: 1 pound equals $1.4935
 UNITED NEWSPAPERS PLC
 Revenue and Profit Analysis
 for the six months ended June 30, 1993 and 1992
 (Amounts in thousands)
 Six months
 REVENUES Year ended
 1993 1993 Restated 1992(A) Dec. 31, 1992
 (000) (000) (000) (000)
 US$ pounds pounds pounds
 Newspapers
 National $223,690 149,776 147,457 295,304
 Regional 114,743 76,828 75,027 148,995
 Advertising
 Periodicals 75,738 50,712 44,623 90,788
 Magazines and
 Exhibitions 211,890 141,875 116,602 234,312
 Information
 Services 42,148 28,221 25,187 51,389
 Sold and closed
 businesses 220 147 6,815 10,720
 $668,429 447,559 415,711 831,508
 UK & Continental
 Europe 489,471 327,734 330,049 658,584
 United States 178,958 119,825 85,662 172,924
 668,429 447,559 415,711 831,508
 Six months
 OPERATING PROFITS Year ended
 1993 1993 Restated 1992(A) Dec. 31, 1992
 (000) (000) (000) (000)
 Newspapers US$ pounds pounds pounds
 National $24,281 16,258 14,012 32,958
 Regional 20,924 14,010 13,987 26,958
 Advertising
 Periodicals 21,801 14,597 13,715 28,302
 Magazines and
 Exhibitions 18,597 12,452 12,429 24,325
 Information
 Services 6,770 4,533 3,514 9,832
 Other activities --- --- --- (68)
 Sold and closed
 businesses (151) (101) (860) (3,379)
 $ 92,222 61,749 56,797 118,928
 UK & Continental
 Europe 55,161 36,934 36,826 80,828
 United States 37,061 24,815 19,971 38,100
 92,222 61,749 56,797 118,928
 (A) Restated for FRS3 -- See note 1
 Currency translation rate: 1 pound equals $1.4935
 UNITED NEWSPAPERS PLC
 Summarized Group Balance Sheet
 for the six months ended June 30, 1993 and 1992
 (Amounts in thousands)
 Six months
 Year ended
 1993 1993 1992(A) Dec. 31, 1992
 (000) (000) (000) (000)
 US$ pounds pounds pounds
 Fixed Assets
 Intangible assets 205,676 137,714 138,505 138,333
 Tangible assets 495,976 332,090 340,116 338,612
 Investments 14,511 9,716 90,055 9,121
 716,163 479,520 568,676 486,066
 Other operating
 assets and
 liabilities
 Stocks 19,662 13,165 14,399 12,925
 Debtors 284,374 190,408 169,811 181,108
 Short term
 investments 23,358 15,640 15,640 15,640
 Creditors (322,903) (216,206) (158,565) (189,442)
 4,491 3,007 41,285 20,231
 Provisions (46,294) (30,997) (41,970) (30,054)
 Net operating
 assets 674,360 451,530 567,991 476,243
 Net borrowings (408,247) (273,349) (267,892) (308,628)
 $266,113 178,181 300,099 167,615
 Capital and
 reserves
 Called up share
 capital 75,525 50,569 49,835 50,050
 Reserves 189,337 126,774 144,426 116,727
 Shareholders'
 funds 264,862 177,343 194,261 166,777
 Minority
 interest 1,251 838 105,838 838
 266,113 178,181 300,099 167,615
 Currency translation rate: 1 pound equals $1.4935
 UNITED NEWSPAPERS PLC
 Summarized Group Cash Flow Statement
 for the six months ended June 30, 1993 and 1992
 (amounts in thousands)
 Year ended
 Six Months Dec. 31
 1993 1993 1992 1992
 (000) (000) (000) (000)
 US$ pounds pounds pounds
 Cash from operating
 activities (note 6) $110,279 73,839 70,526 141,905
 Dividends received 732 490 2,463 3,562
 Interest paid, net (14,427) (9,660) (11,020) (22,144)
 Dividends paid (66) (44) (26,931) (41,938)
 Tax paid (14,381) (9,629) (8,978) (26,007)
 Cash inflow before
 investing activities 82,137 54,996 26,060 55,378
 Acquisitions (18,707) (12,526) (5,915) (36,139)
 Capital expenditures (16,768) (11,227) (14,113) (32,230)
 Disposals 990 663 565 12,835
 Other (1,634) (1,094) (619) (1,326)
 Net cash inflow (outflow)
 before financing 46,018 30,812 5,978 (1,482)
 Shares issued, net 10,708 7,170 2,584 5,089
 Increase/(decrease)
 in debt 2,213 1,482 (1,941) 15,006
 Redemption of preference
 shares --- --- --- (1,749)
 Increase in cash and
 cash equivalents $58,939 39,464 6,621 16,864
 Currency translation rate: 1 pound equals $1.4935
 UNITED NEWSPAPERS PLC
 Notes to the Interim Report
 1. The interim report has been prepared on the basis of accounting policies set out in the Group's 1992 Annual Report and Accounts. The interim financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 23 September, 1993 and are unaudited.
 The comparative figures for the six months ended 30 June, 1992 have been restated to reflect the requirements of FRS3. Comparative figures in the business analysis and in note 6 have been restated for businesses since sold or closed.
 2. The figures for the year ended 31 December, 1992 have been extracted from the annual report and accounts which have been filed with the Registrar of Companies; the auditors' opinion on those accounts was unqualified and did not contain any statement under section 237 of the Companies Act 1985.
 3. Taxation has been calculated on the basis of the estimated effective tax rate for the year ending 31 December, 1993. Of the estimated taxation charge for the six months ended 30 June, 1993, 5,687,000 pounds relates to overseas taxation.
 4. The average number of ordinary shares in issue during the six months ended 30 June, 1993 was 201,056,349 (30 June, 1992 - 198,898,092).
 On 29 June, 1993 the company announced a proposal to raise approximately 190 million pounds, net of expenses, by way of a fully underwritten rights issue. Under the terms of the rights issue, 40,455,405 new ordinary shares were issued on 20 July, 1993 at 480 pence per share on the basis of one new ordinary share for every five existing ordinary shares.
 The earnings per share before adjusting for the rights issue for the period to 30 June, 1993 were 16.9 pence (six months to 30 June, 1992 - 14.2 pence; year to 31 December, 1992 - 40.1 pence). After adjusting for the bonus element inherent in the rights issue, the earnings per share for the six months to 30 June, 1993 would be 16.4 pence (six months to 30 June, 1992 - 13.8 pence; year to 31 December, 1992 - 39.0 pence).
 5. The interim dividend of 7.5 pence per share will be paid on 3 December, 1993 to shareholders on the register at 14 October, 1993. A scrip dividend alternative will again be offered to shareholders, the details of which will be sent to shareholders in due course.
 6. Reconciliation of operating profit to net cash inflow from operating activities.
 Six Months Year ended
 Restated Dec. 31
 1993 1993 1992(A) 1992
 (000) (000) (000) (000)
 US$ pounds pounds pounds
 Operating profit $92,222 61,749 56,797 118,928
 Add back operating
 losses on discontinued
 activities 151 101 860 3,379
 Depreciation 28,047 18,779 18,069 34,839
 Working capital (8,822) (5,907) (3,452) 2,971
 Other (635) (425) (498) (1,234)
 Net cash inflow from
 continuing operations 110,963 74,297 71,776 158,883
 Sold and closed
 businesses (684) (458) (1,250) (16,978)
 Cash from operating
 activities 110,279 73,839 70,526 141,905
 (A) -- Restated for FRS3 - See note 1.
 Currency translation rate: 1 pound equals $1.4935
 -0- 9/23/93
 /CONTACT: Graham Wilson of United Newspapers plc, 071-921-5000; or Philip L. Thomas of the P.L. Thomas Group, 312-906-8060, for United Newspapers plc/
 (UNEWY)


CO: United Newspapers plc ST: IN: PUB SU: ERN

SB-SM -- DE030 -- 5358 09/23/93 16:08 EDT
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