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Royal Doulton: forecasts and figures

2 April 1998: Royal Doulton, the ceramics and giftware group which bought Caithness Glass in 1996, said that it sees “massive scope” for expansion of its glass giftware sales in the US and Japan.
The…

2 April 1998: Royal Doulton, the ceramics and giftware group which bought Caithness Glass in 1996, said that it sees “massive scope” for expansion of its glass giftware sales in the US and Japan. The company did not announce separate figures for Caithness Glass, but Helen Walker, a director, said the Perth-based glassware manufacturer did “very well” last year. Caithness Glass, which employs 200 people in its factories in Wick and Perth, benefited from access to Royal Doulton“s network of more than 200 retail outlets in the UK. The group“s overall sales to the US rose 9% last year. Walker expressed confidence that, despite the economic crisis in Asia and problems caused by the strong British pound, the export drive to Japan will pay off in the longer term. Royal Doulton has invested heavily in Caithness Glass since it acquired the company for UK 5.5 million two years ago and employment at the Wick glass blowing plant increased by 20%, to 100 last year. “Following the acquisition of Caithness Glass we are now the leader in the UK quality crystal and glass market. We have strong distribution of Caithness, Royal Doulton, and Royal Albert through our own retail outlets and department stores and also of own label brands created for leading high street retailers. Nevertheless we see opportunities for growth in a number of channels in the UK, while the overseas markets offer enormous growth potential particularly in the USA and Japan,” said Patrick Wenger, Group Chief Executive. He added that a re-shaped management team, led by a newly appointed managing director, will be concentrating on increasing the company“s presence in these markets. “We have recognised the need for market specific product and our Carnegie design of crystal giftware and stemware, developed for North America, has shown how successful this strategy can be,” Mr. Wenger said. For 1997, turnover was unchanged at UK 252 million, but pre-tax profit was cut from UK 17.6 million to UK 6.2 million. The company“s decision to raise the dividend to 10p from 9.65p, with a final pay-out of 7.7p, reportedly led to a final loss of UK 1.8 million. Operating profits before exceptional items were up 7% to UK 20.8 million, compared with UK 19.4 million in 1996. “We have simplified and focused the Group into a business that can operate effectively across all product divisions and regions. We have achieved much since last May and this year will be no less active with our priorities being to pursue our targeted growth opportunities, continue to increase operating efficiencies, define our retail offering and position our brands to maximise their value,” said Wenger. One analyst said the glassware division“s performance was the one bright feature in an otherwise “very dull” set of accounts and wondered if Royal Doulton might now become the subject of a takeover bid.

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