Flying Flowers shoots ahead

Flying Flowers, the direct mail florist based in Jersey, saw profits shoot up by 65 per cent to £1.8m in the year to the end of December.

The company, which was floated on the stock market 18 months ago, saw turnover more than double to £14.5m from £7m on the back of its acquisition of DPA Direct, which sells garden and household products through newspaper and magazine advertising.

DPA added £6.6m to turnover and £300,000 to pre-tax profit.

The company says it saw the benefit of its investment in the hardware and software that allow it to utilise a database of existing customers.

Four mail shots a year have an average response rate of 20 per cent. The company has also expanded overseas and is planning a Flying Flowers service to France.

Walter Goldsmith, chairman, said: "We see continuing growth in the British database and we are making further investment to cope with increasing demand: 1995 should be a very successful year for Flying Flowers."

The company's broker, Townsley & Co, expects 1995 profits to grow by a further 38 per cent to £2.5m.

Earnings per share grew strongly to 7.69p from 5.19p. The company has been able to fund its acquisitions to date mostly out of cash, preventing the need to dilute investors' existing shareholdings.

The company, the only Jersey-based business with a full listing on the London stock market, benefits from the island's lower tax rates.

Flying Flowers has nearly £2m in the bank.

The dividend is to rise from 1.35p to 2p for the full year.

Despite the good results the company's shares slipped 4p to 97p on probable profit-taking.

According to Townsley & Co, there has been considerable trading in Flying Flowers following press comment in the past fortnight.