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Pacific Retail Group posts 13 percent rise in H1 profit


Tuesday 26th November 2002

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Pacific Retail Group, owner of Noel Leeming and Living & Giving, saw first half net profit rise 13.5 percent to $6.12 million on the back of its finance unit and the newly acquired Bendon.

PRG's profit before tax and unusual items of $11 million for the six months ended September was a 46 percent rise on the same period last year, including the performance of Bendon under previous ownership.

Chairman Maurice Kidd said today the group had evolved beyond its retail foundations.

"Traditionally the group has been a retail business, but in order to maintain growth and a solid return for our shareholders, we will need to continue to broaden our horizons.

"Retail related property investment and development, business acquisitions and other investments that may fall outside the scope of the retail and finance companies would see the group continuing to diversify in a carefully managed way," Mr Kidd said.

Director Philip Newland, managing director of Eric Watson's Cullen Investments, which is a 73 percent owner of PRG, has been appointed deputy chairman.

Chief executive Peter Halkett said strong performances from Pacific Retail Finance (PRF) and Bendon had been backed up by the group's traditional appliance and retail businesses.

"PRF is an example of the group leveraging core competencies beyond the retail sector to generate returns," Mr Halkett said.

PRG acquired lingerie manufacturer Bendon for $59.3 million at the start of the half year period following a battle with director Hugo Venter.

"The six month result of $1.6 million (for Bendon) compares well to the break even result for the same period last year, and includes United Kingdom operating costs for the first time," he said.

"We are further encouraged by the strong growth in revenue to $42.2 million, up 18.4 percent on the previous corresponding period."

Mr Halkett said the performance of the Living & Giving giftware shops had been disappointing, although the company remained "confident about its long term future".

PRG's secured capital notes launched in October raised $63.71 million to fund ongoing expansion of the business.

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