For the first time, the profit margin for the group reached double figures, while turnover rose pounds 62m to pounds 369m. Profits in the UK advanced 62 per cent. On the Continent they fell 8 per cent, despite improved margins, because of weak market conditions - especially in the plastics division, serving industrial customers.
Jim Leng, group chief executive, said: 'I am not going to be the first person to spot Continental green shoots. Volumes have stopped falling, but there is still a lot of snow on the ground over there.'
In North America, margins and volumes rose. Profits were up 78 per cent. Mr Leng said restructuring during 1992 had delivered the planned benefits, but 'from now on it will be the daily grind of finding more efficiencies'.
Earnings per share were 21.77p, compared with 16.56p before exceptionals in 1992. Smith New Court, the company's broker, forecasts profits of pounds 39m for the current year. The share price closed 8p up at 408p.
Bottom Line, page 27Reuse content