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OfficeMax NZ unit boosts profit 6.6%, mulls Croxley future

OfficeMax NZ unit boosts profit 6.6%, still mulling Croxley Stationery's future

By Paul McBeth

May 22 (BusinessDesk) - OfficeMax New Zealand, the local unit of the global office supply company, lifted profit by 6.6 percent last year, even as sales fell, and has still to decide whether to sell its Croxley Stationery unit.

Net profit was $14 million in the 2011 calendar year, up from $13.1 million a year earlier, according to OfficeMax Holdings' financial statements, lodged with the Companies Office. Profit was boosted by lower costs of tax and interest, while sales fell to $382.5 million from $389.8 million a year earlier.

OfficeMax said no decision had been made on "the future of the Croxley business and it continues to operate as a going concern."

In November, global group chief executive Ravi Saligram told investors in New York the board was evaluating divesting Croxley as it looked at ways to align its trans-Tasman businesses. The Croxley unit's goodwill was valued at $13.7 million as at Dec. 31, making up 19 percent of the New Zealand group's $71.7 million goodwill.

In March, OfficeMax New Zealand opened an Australasian contact centre in Christchurch, adding 60 employees to the 110 at its South Island regional sales office and distribution centre.

OfficeMax's local unit finished repaying a $177 million loan accruing 7.5 percent interest owed to its parent company. The term loan matured on Dec. 31 2011, and was taken out when OfficeMax, then known as Boise Cascade Corp, bought the New Zealand business in 2000.

Over that period, the parent hasn't taken a dividend, and OfficeMax's local group has retained earnings of $150.1 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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