Focus on core lifts Haynes Publishing

CONCENTRATION on its core car manual business helped lift pre-tax profits at Haynes Publishing Group to pounds 2.35m for the year to 31 May, from pounds 26,000 the year before.

The return to basics instituted by Max Pearce, who took over as chief executive a year ago, included curtailing moves into general publishing and reducing the UK workforce by a quarter.

Mr Pearce said the improved figures were reward for 'a year of pain and grief putting in place the necessary controls and management discipline'. He said the success of the group's US operations had allowed him to restructure the UK business.

The accounts include an exceptional charge of pounds 928,000 to pay for redundancies and the abortion of publishing projects not directly related to car manuals.

Turnover, which rose 10 per cent to pounds 21.2m, was strongest in the US, where the increase was 18 per cent. Net borrowings were reduced from pounds 3.8m to pounds 1.6m. Mr Pearce said his objection was zero gearing. He rejected suggestions that he had taken too much capacity out of the UK business, saying that the company was poised to benefit from an upturn. He said the company had sold some spare printing capacity.

He said the translation of Haynes' manuals into foreign languages would ensure future growth.

Earnings per share were 14.5p (0.1p) and the final dividend is 3.5p, making a total of 6p (2.5p). The shares rose 8p to 198p.