Quarto lifts turnover and profits

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The Independent Online
PROFITS increased 26 per cent at Quarto Group in 1993, but the publishing, marketing and production services company said pressure on prices remained intense, writes John Shepherd.

The profit rise, from pounds 3.97m to pounds 5.02m, was flattered slightly by the absence of exceptional costs that depressed the previous year's result by pounds 391,000. Figures for 1993 also included pounds 438,000 of profits from acquisitions.

Laurence Orbach, chairman, said: 'Although 1993 was better than the previous year, it was one of mixed trading conditions, making business confidence difficult to predict.

'Some hopes were raised, only to be dashed, while others were fulfilled. So far, business in 1994 is less volatile than in 1993.'

Turnover, including pounds 1.9m from acquisitions, rose from pounds 39.4m to pounds 47.6m. Almost half of Quarto's sales are in the US, 26 per cent in the UK, 10 per cent in Europe, and 11 per cent in Australia.

Quarto's shares, recently at an all- time high of 337p, fell 3p to 314p. Investors will receive a final dividend of 4p, lifting the total payout nearly 12 per cent to 6p, covered more than three-fold by earnings per share of 19.7p (16.4p).

Looking ahead, Mick Mousley, finance director, said that gearing of 27 per cent provided the company with plenty of headroom to make acquisitions.