Graham Reaney, PMP chairman, says the printing group, plagued with trouble over the past couple of years, had made a promising start to 2003/04 but that its full year earnings would depend on market conditions. He also quashed hopes that shareholders would see a dividend before June 2004, although assured that restoring dividend payments was high on its agenda.
According to Reaney, if the group was to achieve its objective of taking net debt to below $215m by June 2004, it would need to retain earnings and use them to reduce debt. The decision on whether or not to reinvest the company’s earnings would depend on what the board considers to be in the best interests of shareholders at the time.
The group is, however, expecting to achieve the $30m in earnings benefits outlined in its performance improvement programme announced earlier this year.
“The $30m earnings improvement relates to baseline earnings for 2003/04 which were projected as a starting point to be lower than for 2002/03,” says Reaney.
The group’s print division has met its first quarter targets and the second quarter was also looking promising, says Reaney. Gordon and Gotch – PMP’s distributon business – and the company’s New Zealand operations were also achieving satisfying results.
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