International Greetings pre-tax profits up

International Greetings reports a strong year in which all its operating regions traded profitably and delivered excellent cash generation.

Profit before tax, exceptional items and LTIP charges for the year to the end of March rose 4% to £7.6m. The gross margin was slightly up on the prior year at 18.4% (2013: 18.3%)

Fully diluted earnings per share before exceptional items increased 6.4% to 8.3 pence (2013: 7.8 pence).

Cash generated from operations before exceptional items up 101% at £15.2 million (2013: £7.5 million)

Net debt fell 12.3% to £36.9 million (2013: £42.1 million) and leverage down 0.4 times to 2.4 times despite major capital investment programme of £8.3 million (2013: £1.9 million).

Chief executive Paul Fineman said: "We are pleased to report a strong year in which all our operating regions traded profitably and delivered excellent cash generation. This was achieved whilst continuing to invest in the Group's infrastructure, to enable us to deliver enhanced future performance. In particular, the transformation of our UK based gift wrap manufacturing operation in Wales marked the completion of the second phase of upgrading our global gift wrap production facilities. This strategic initiative began in Holland in 2012 and has underpinned our strong progress in Continental Europe.

"Our recent acquisition of the trade and certain assets of Enper Gift Wrap, demonstrates our determination to identify new opportunities for profitable incremental growth. As we enter the second year of our new three year plan, we are on plan to deliver double digit cumulative average growth in earnings per share and are ahead of schedule to meet our commitment to reduce debt and leverage below two times debt/EBITDA. We look forward to the future with confidence."

At 8:02am: (LON:IGR) International Greetings PLC share price was +4.5p at 79.5p

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