Vymura beats retail malaise

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The Independent Online

Vymura, the wall coverings group once part of ICI, saw its shares leap 12p to 114p yesterday after announcing a 15 per cent surge in profits for last year.

Pre-tax profits jumped from £3.28m in the 12 months to December1993 to £3.78m last year in the first annual figures to be reported since the company floated last May.

The shares remain well below the placing price of 150p, but the market breathed a sigh of relief that Vymura had shrugged aside high street malaise to report results in line with expectations.

Tim de Vere Green, an analyst with the brokers Barclays de Zoete Wedd, said the shares had been hit by profits downgrades around the turn of the year for Fine Decor, a quoted rival.

"Vymura has been sitting on a fairly big discount to the market - in p/e terms - and I think that reflected what people feared about the company and the general trading environment. My belief is some of that should have been alleviated."

Vymura had come through a process of rationalisation at the do-it-yourself groups, emerging as a favoured supplier, which should also quell concerns about rising raw material costs, he suggested.

Vymura's chairman, Iain Bell, reported a positive start to the year, with results ahead of budget. "In addition to enjoying better revenues, the company is achieving benefits from recent manufacturing investment and further cost savings which will have a positive effect on operating margins, especially if there is an improvement in the national economy. Further progress overseas is also expected in 1995."

Turnover rose to £39.4m from £38.3m in 1993. Vymura said it increased sales to the home market by 4 per cent against a 1 per cent fall by the industry as a whole. Export income grew 26 per cent to £7m.

Earnings per share edged up from 10.34p to 10.7p, out of which a maiden dividend of 3.1p is being paid.