Campari profits plunge but dividend is maintained

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PROFITS at Campari International, the sports leisurewear group, plunged in line with a profits warning issued last month. The company made pounds 1.1m before tax in 1992 against pounds 5.3m the previous year. The dividend was maintained at 12p, writes John Murray.

Michael Saideman, the finance director, said that pressure on margins and disappointing in-season sales at the end of the year contributed to the decline. There was also a one-off pounds 1.3m write-down of stock to reflect a new system of stock provisioning.

Mr Saideman said that the maintained dividend underlined the company's confidence in future prospects. He added: 'The first half of this year has seen sales broadly in line with last year. Forward orders are slightly behind, but it's early days yet.'

Exports accounted for 71 per cent of Campari's sales last year, against 66 per cent in 1991. Mr Saideman said: 'It looks like Continental Europe is catching up with the UK's recession, although I don't see any sign of recovery in the UK.'

Earnings per share plummeted to 0.79p from 39.24p. The shares, which lost 61p after the profit warning, gained 3p to 223p yesterday.