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Nuplex expects strong first half result

Nuplex expects strong first half result, boosts guidance, rejigs management

Dec. 17 (BusinessWire) – Nuplex Industries Ltd., the specialty chemicals maker, boosted its earnings guidance and expects a “strong first half result” as the Asian region continues to drive sales.

The company will also rejig its management structure. Nuplex raised its forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to between $110 million and $120 million in 2010 from $100 million to $110 million.

That’s the second upwards revision in as many months. The shares surged 6.5% to $2.77, although they down 43% on the start of the year.

“With margins being maintained and a substantially reduced cost base, we currently expect to report a strong first half result,” said group managing director John Hirst in a statement. “While demand remains significantly below the peak in financial year 2007/08, it has generally recovered from the low point of last financial year and gives every sign of gradual improvement into the forseeable future.”

Nuplex was forced to sell shares at a deep discount and renegotiate its funding this year as a surging kiwi dollar stoked the value of overseas debt amid dwindling demand.

Since the refinancing deal, the company’s gearing has dropped to less than 19% from 49% at the end of June.

The chemicals maker also announced it will restructure its operations into two business dvisions. Sam Bastounas has been appointed chief operating officer of Nuplex Functional Materials & Specialties, and Rob Harmsen will head up Nuplex Resins.

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Charles Northcote was appointed group general manager planning and strategy and will work with the two COOs to coordinate the company’s business planning processes.

The Nuplex senior line-up is changing significantly, with Hirst stepping down after a life-long career with the company, chief financial officer Graeme Storey retired in March, and Fred Holland stepped down from the board after 40 years with the company, including 12 as chairman.

The board is currently considering relocating Nuplex offshore.

(BusinessWire) 14:09:06

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