Portmeirion shares jump on profit rise

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The Independent Online
PORTMEIRION Potteries, the Stoke-on-Trent-based company known for brightly patterned tableware inspired by 18th and 19th century botanical illustrations, yesterday reported a 40 per cent improvement in interim profits to pounds 1.4m.

The news provided some relief for the shares, which jumped 14p to 216p. They have been falling steadily since June, when they stood at 266p, the high for the year.

The company has announced an unchanged interim dividend of 2.25p.

'Economic conditions remain difficult but demand for our products is being maintained,' Euan Cooper-Willis, chairman, said. However, he remained cautious about prospects for the full year. He expected results would be satisfactory, although a return to the 1990 level, when pre-tax profits stood at pounds 2.78m, was unlikely.

Turnover in the six months ended 30 June was pounds 10.4m, an 18.5 per cent increase over the equivalent period. Half of Portmeirion's sales are to overseas customers, mainly in the United States, where business showed a 'healthy increase'.

The market was 'far from strong' in the United Kingdom, but Mr Cooper-Willis said it was showing some recovery.

New products added to the range produced valuable incremental sales.

Rigorous cost controls and improved production efficiency helped boost operating costs by 50 per cent to pounds 1.54m, the company said.

Portmeirion plans pounds 1.5m in capital expenditure on new plants and equipment this year. Gearing stands at less than 20 per cent.

Earnings per share rose by 37.4 per cent to 8.89p.

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