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Hellaby Holdings records 81% increase in NPAT

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Hellaby Holdings records 81% increase in NPAT

Hellaby Holdings Limited has today announced an 81% increase in net profit after tax at $5.0 million for the six months to 31 December 2007.

Chairman Bill Falconer said that following last year’s disappointing financial results, Hellaby’s priority this year has been to restore the company’s performance to the levels achieved in previous years.

“I’m pleased to report at the half-way mark, that we are on track to achieve this,” Mr Falconer says. “Based on our profit performance trends and our portfolio diversification, we believe that Hellaby should achieve around a $45 million trading surplus before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and before one-off transactions for this financial year.”

The company posted a trading surplus before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation [“EBITDA”] and before one-off transactions, of $19.1 million for the six months to 31 December 2007. This represents a 50% increase on last year’s reported EBITDA of $12.7 million for the same period.

Group earnings before interest and tax [“EBIT”] increased by 70% to $13.9 million, compared to $8.2 million for the same period last year.

Despite a higher net taxation expense for the period ($1.9 million compared with last year’s $1.0 million), and increased interest payments, Hellaby has still achieved a tax-paid profit [“NPAT”] of $5.0 million. This represents an 81% increase against last year’s surplus of $2.8 million (calculated after adjusting for IAS39 IFRS requirements).

Hellaby chief executive John Williamson said that despite an increasingly tight economy, the majority of Hellaby’s businesses had performed better than the same period last year.

“Our best performers have been the automotive parts division and the industrial equipment division, which are both well up on last year.

“For the automotive parts division, the expansion of Diesel Distributors into Australia is now on track, and HCB Technologies (acquired in November 2006), has made a solid contribution to the performance of the Brake & Transmission group.

“In the industrial equipment division, AB Equipment is continuing to experience strong market demand in both forklifts and construction equipment, and still has a solid level of confirmed customer orders. TRS, the specialist tyre and wheel supplier, has experienced improved demand for its agricultural products during the six months to December 2007, particularly from the New Zealand dairy sector.

“We expect these divisions to continue their strong performance during the second half of the financial year.”

Mr Williamson said the recently expanded packaging division had achieved an acceptable profit contribution, particularly given that the integration of the newly acquired PPL and Chequer Packaging businesses into subsidiary Elldex Packaging occurred during the results period.

“I’m pleased to confirm that the integration of these three packaging businesses is currently on track. A high-calibre senior management team has been appointed for the Elldex Packaging group, and is currently focused on operational efficiencies, and business development growth. Overall, we are expecting the packaging division’s revenues and profits to more than double for the full financial year.”

Mr Williamson said the group’s retail division experienced relatively flat consumer demand during the Christmas period.

“Our retail footwear businesses Hannahs and No 1 Shoes experienced reasonably modest same-store sales improvement against the same period last year. Nonetheless, the profit performance of Hannahs is well ahead of the same period last year, and both businesses are expected to improve their profit performance during the second half of this financial year.

“The BBQ Factory is still underperforming, however the management team continues to work on improving its mix of stores which we believe will improve the appeal of the overall brand.”

Mr Williamson said that during the six months to December 2007, things were reasonably quiet from a portfolio management perspective. “Our two packaging acquisitions were made at the beginning of the period and in October we announced the sale of Levana Textiles.

“The primary focus during this period has been on improving the operational performance of our existing businesses.”

An interim dividend of 5 cents per share, unimputed, has been declared for the year ending 30 June 2008 (previous corresponding period 10 cents per share, fully imputed). The dividend will be paid on Friday 18 April 2008. For the purposes of determining shareholder entitlements the company will be ex-dividend at 5:00 pm, 11 April 2008.

Looking ahead, Mr Williamson said that his main focus for the rest of the financial year would be to improve the balance sheet, and to improve retail business performance. “Most of our businesses are performing well, and we will continue to work towards further improving both profitability and return on funds employed “


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