Cavan plant `disappoints' as Boxmore profits rise 57.5%


BOXMORE International, the Northern Ireland packaging group, with a plastics factory in Cavan, has recorded strong growth with a 57.5 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £11.1 million sterling in 1995.

Excluding acquisitions, the group managed a creditable growth of 31 per cent.

It had had an encouraging start to 1996, said chairman, Mr Harold Ennis, and further growth was anticipated.

The focus this year would be on strengthening its position in selected niche markets at home and developing its overseas markets.

The group plans to grow by at least 15 per cent in volume terms. There will also be further acquisitions "should they arrive". Capital expenditure of some £17 million will go on its existing activities.

It plans to move its share listing from the Unlisted Securities Market (USM) to a full London listing in May.

The company will retain its Irish USM listing and has no immediate plans to have a full Irish listing.

Boxmore also intends to have a one-for-one scrip issue to increase the marketability of its shares.

Shareholders will benefit from the latest profit growth. The group has declared a final dividend of 3.66p net a share, making a total of 5.28p, an increase of 17.9 per cent. Reflecting real growth, earnings per share went up from 19.9p to 23.5p.

The only grey spot was the Cavan plant which had "disappointing" results. The weakness of sterling against the pound reduced export sales' margins. This adverse position was compounded by increased raw material prices.

The plant was still profitable but generated a return on capital of under 15 per cent compared with an average group return of 25 per cent to 30 per cent.

Group turnover increased from £46.87 million to £71.87 million. Most of the growth was underlying while £10.56 million came from acquisitions. A breakdown shows a 71 per cent rise in sales to £26.9 million in pharmaceutical and healthcare, a 48 per cent increase to £23.8 million in food & drink, and a 30 per cent rise to £15 million in barrier and other containers.

It consolidated its plans to become the leading supplier of cartons, leaflets and containers to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries in the Britain, Northern Ireland and the "Republic.

All operations in this division are "well placed to take advantage of an expanding but increasingly competitive" market.

Boxmore remains in a strong financial position with a gearing of only 3 per cent - even after funding the £6 million acquisition of GCM Print and Packaging Service and a capital expenditure programme of £11.8 million.

Boxmore employs 980 people. It sells its products in 35 countries and 89 per cent of its sales are outside Northern Ireland.