IBC turns corner with 2p payout

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The Independent Online
INTERNATIONAL Business Communications, the conference organiser and newsletter publisher, celebrated its return to financial health yesterday with a 2p dividend, the first payout for four years.

The shares, which have more than doubled since the middle of last year, closed 15p higher at 201p.

Pre-tax profits and earnings per share were distorted by last summer's rights issue and financial restructuring that reduced debts from pounds 76m to pounds 14m. But there was an underlying 22 per cent rise in operating profits.

Peter Rigby, chief executive, said a real obstacle to the group's future progress and well-being had been removed.

Reported pre-tax profits jumped from pounds 752,000 to pounds 43.1m, but last year's figure included a pounds 38.2m book- keeping item reflecting a notional profit on debts written off by the banks as part of the reconstruction.

IBC provided a pro forma profit and loss account which, it said, indicated maintainable profits and earnings per share. After adjusting for the one-off loan redemption profit and stripping out associated interest payments, ongoing pre-tax profits increased from pounds 3.8m to pounds 6.2m.

Earnings per share on the same basis increased from 8.7p to 13p, a 49 per cent increase.

IBC's return to a level financial footing following losses in 1990 and 1991 after the company's ill-fated decision to borrow heavily to buy back 40 per cent of its shares.

The gamble on future interest rates brought the company to the brink of collapse as the cost of borrowing soared. Since 1990 it has had three debt restructurings and a rights issue.