Princedale announces rise in pre-tax profits

Princedale, the parent company of C&FD and until last week MPL and CLK, has announced a 27 per cent rise in pre-tax profits in its 1996 figures – the group’s sixth successive year of growth.

The 3.53m pre-tax profits came from a turnover of 53.6m. Gearing (the ratio of debt to equity which is a measure of risk in a business) was down to 37 per cent at the end of 1996, compared to 56 per cent a year before.

Taking into account the 3m-plus proceeds of the CLK/MPL management buyout (DW 4 April), Princedale’s gearing is now down to below 10 per cent.

Princedale chairman Stephen Bennett says: “1996 has been a year of significant progress. Recent disposals in marketing and design signal that the reshaping of Princedale is well underway.

“Indications are that 1997 will show further progress,” he says. Referring to the sale of MPL and CLK, Bennett adds: “Over the past two years we have reappraised the group’s strategy. The continued development of merchandising and display as a core activity has reduced the strategic importance of our marketing and design division. These disposals are in line with this shift of emphasis.”

Bennett says this shift does not mean Princedale wants to dispose of corporate literature consultancy C&FD: “Although strategically less important to the group, C&FD contributes good profits.”

Although the results do not give C&FD’s specific figures, Bennett says the consultancy increased its operating profits in 1996 by 64 per cent.

C&FD director Adrianne LeMan, who last week denied a possible C&FD buyout, says the growth is the fulfilment of the potential the consultancy had when she set it up four years ago: “We have gone from three people to 16, and last year produced 32 annual reports. Princedale is happy for us to be in the group. We are profitable, no trouble to them and fairly autonomous.”

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