Ross Group predicts recovery after revamp

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The Independent Online
ROSS GROUP, a rapidly growing electronics and packaging concern, yesterday blamed a string of adverse events for a pounds 1.6m pre-tax loss last year but said its latest restructuring should see a strong recovery.

Anthony Schofield, finance director, said that a sharp rise in the yen cut margins in Ross's Sonicare business, which sells Sanyo car stereos in the UK, while orders from big customers, including Argos, for other products failed to match forecasts.

Although turnover rose by 18 per cent to pounds 60.9m, costs also increased sharply and the company took a charge of pounds 3.5m against profits after deciding to restructure.

'We were determined that after having one bad year we were not going to have two,' said Noel Hayes, chairman.

The dividend for the year will be cut to 0.40p from 0.65p in 1992. The shares closed 1p higher at 19.5p.

Ross, which has been criticised for the diverse range of businesses it has acquired, sold a number of its non-core operations during the year, cut 200 jobs and streamlined the group, taking out about pounds 2m of ongoing costs.

It also announced yesterday the acquisition of 25 per cent of Accom Industrial from its Chinese partner Tomei Industrial for about pounds 2m in Ross shares. The deal allows Ross an option to take full control by 1997. Accom supplies components for Ross products.

The deal will bring Tomei's holding in Ross up to 14.1 per cent from 9.5 per cent. Tomei has confirmed that its stake is a long-term strategic investment and, though it may bring the holding up to around 29 per cent, Mr Hayes said the Hong Kong-listed group was not expected to make a full bid.

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