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Nuplex Lifts Dividend Payout After Posting Profit

Nuplex Lifts Dividend Payout After Posting Record Profit

(Statement made by Fred Holland, Chairman, Nuplex International Limited)

A significant lift in earnings from Australian operations and a strong demand for synthetic resins assisted Nuplex to lift audited net surplus 38% to a record $28.4 million for the financial year ending June 30 2004.

Earnings per share at 45.9cps were up 11.8cps on the previous year.

Directors have declared a final fully imputed cash dividend of 13 cents per share (up 2.5 cents on the final dividend last year), bringing the full dividend for the year to a fully imputed 24.5 cents, up 4.5 cents.

Unusual items of $2.4 million ($1.8 million last year) were a combination of write downs of goodwill, taxation adjustments and plant write downs related to planned site closures that will provide future efficiencies.

Our result was achieved through improved market presence, increasing efficiencies - particularly within our Australian operations - and investment in new technology and equipment throughout our operations.

These improvements will contribute to profit growth in the current and future years.

We have now been on a sustained growth path for the past two years, fuelled by a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic expansion particularly in overseas markets.

Group sales at $655 million were up a modest 4%, but we increased EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) by 14% to $74.2 million ($65.4 million last year).

Much of this improved result was achieved from our Australian operations where we increased net surplus to $21.7 million, an increase of 62%. Australia contributed 76% of group profit (65% last year). This underlines the importance of our expansion to Australia and gives us confidence that we can succeed in other international markets.

The performance of New Zealand businesses remained steady, however demand for resins by our Australian arm declined as market demands were met through improvements in production facilities.

Our Vietnam operations continued to make solid progress, lifting net surplus to $1.4 million, an increase of 81%.

While the modest investment we have made in China will not lead to it making a contribution to surplus in the new year, the prospects for this operation are bright.

The enormous demand by China for raw materials is affecting their price and along with increased fuel and shipping costs, this will put pressure on margins. However, we are confident that we can manage these increased costs and deliver on an improved bottom line.

We expect to continue to maintain growth in the current year and are currently evaluating opportunities to achieve further international expansion.

The dividend will be paid on October 15, 2004 to shareholders on the register at 5pm on Friday, October 1, 2004.

The final dividend is fully imputed for New Zealand and Australian shareholders, and a supplementary dividend of 2.294 cents will be paid to non resident shareholders.

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