Pifco targets cheaper end of market

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PIFCO HOLDINGS is introducing a new range of lower-specification, lower-priced products after identifying what its chairman thinks is a permanent change in consumer spending on small electrical appliances, writes Topaz Amoore.

Pifco hopes to continue the progress made last year, when pre- tax profits rose from pounds 1.17m to pounds 2.2m. Operating profits were ahead by 65 per cent, bolstered by Russell Hobbs Tower's return to the black.

Michael Webber, chairman, said: 'We will protect the top end of the group, with Russell Hobbs and Carmen remaining premium brand names, but will also address the high-volume, low end of the market.

'The market has moved. People are now buying on the basis of 'need', not on the basis of 'want'.'

Exports in the year ended 30 April represented 24 per cent of the pounds 37.4m turnover, which was down 7 per cent as Pifco continued to drive for profitability over market share.

It now exports to more than 40 countries and Mr Webber said it was looking for an acquisition, probably in Europe.

Pifco made an exceptional profit of pounds 151,000 on the sale of its minority shareholding in Salton Canada. Net interest receivable was pounds 12,000, against an interest bill of pounds 62,000 the previous year.

The final dividend of 4.75p, giving a total of 8.25p, is up by 6 per cent. The shares closed down 4p at 520p.