Pilkington: “another strong set of results” for year to April 2005

UK glass giant Pilkington plc posted higher operating profit and lower net debt in its results for the year to 31 March 2005.
The St. Helens-based firm highlighted operating profit including joint ve…

UK glass giant Pilkington plc posted higher operating profit and lower net debt in its results for the year to 31 March 2005. The St. Helens-based firm highlighted operating profit including joint ventures and associates up from GBP 213 million* to GBP 231 million for the previous financial year. Profit on ordinary activities before taxation, amortisation of goodwill and exceptional items rose from GBP 152 million* to GBP 180 million, equivalent to an increase of 26% at constant exchange rates. Earnings per share before amortisation of goodwill and exceptional items increased 19% from GBP 0.075* to GBP 0.0789, while basic earnings per share rose from GBP 0.063p* to GBP 0.078p, a gain of 24%. The group also reported another year of strong free cash flow at GBP 172 million and said that net debt was down again, by 14% in the year, from GBP 664 million to GBP 572 million. The final dividend increased to GBP 0.0335 compared to GBP 0.0325 for 2004, increasing to GBP 0.051 for the full year, the first rise in the dividend for a decade. Group Chairman Sir Nigel Rudd, said: “This is another strong set of results from Pilkington. Adoption of a progressive dividend policy is an indication of the Board“s growing confidence in the capability of the business to generate cash sustainably”. “We have seen a good performance in Automotive, with Building Products holding up, despite variable trading conditions in our markets around the world. The Group continues to benefit from improvements in operational efficiency and continuous cost reduction programmes. Energy surcharges on Building Products“ deliveries in Europe and North America have helped to alleviate the significant cost pressure from rising energy prices”. “The Automotive business has been involved in a record number of new product launches over the year and has benefited from strong sales of many existing models equipped by Pilkington. Building Products“ results in Europe were affected by low industry capacity utilisation, but outside Europe Building Products results continued to improve”. “Over the course of the next financial year, we expect to begin the transition into “Stage 3“ of our “Cash for Growth“ strategy, with targeted investments into profitable growth opportunities”. * Figures restated due to accounting changes detailed in the company financial statement.