AGA Rangemaster Group plc will hold its Annual General Meeting at 11.00 am today at which the following statement relating to the four month period ended 30th April 2010 (the "Period") will be made.
"In 2009 we delivered on our stated objectives of remaining profitable and generating cash while continuing with our product investment programmes in order to provide impetus into an upturn. In the period we continued to trade in line with expectations.
Our work on cash management, seen in the increase in cash balances to £28 million at the end of 2009 from £5.8 million at the start of 2009, continues alongside programmes to raise efficiencies and lower the cost base. Since the start of 2008 the cost base has been reduced by over £9.5 million, giving us confidence that should the improvement in consumer markets be sustained, the operational gearing in the business will bring a material rebound in the Group's profitability.
Our markets are now more stable than last year but consumers, unsurprisingly, remain very cautious, particularly about undertaking larger scale projects. Against this backdrop, we are pleased that AGA orders for the Period are up on last year and home survey numbers are appreciably better than a year ago. After slow, weather-related starts to the year Rangemaster's order intake has moved ahead and Fired Earth's is close to last year's levels.
The North American markets may now be bottoming out and we are seeing steady growth on the Continent.
We expect sales growth to be driven by new products. A strong response to our new product introductions at this Spring's trade and consumer shows underpins our expectations for higher volumes this year across our key UK production facilities.
The cooker launches from Rangemaster include new oven formats and a greater range of widths, adding to the design strengths for which they have always been known. The new AGA PRO+, a single oven self-cleaning cooker aimed primarily at the North American market, launched successfully this Spring epitomises the work we have been undertaking to develop new products which best meet the needs of our customers. We are also developing products for home energy management and Rayburn's new, high efficiency boiler models are an important step forward in this area.
We are confident that by remaining focused on maintaining the exceptional quality of our product portfolio, whilst investing for the future, we will enjoy renewed momentum as the market recovers. The Board continues to expect that 2010 revenues will be ahead of 2009."
William McGrath / Shaun Smith, AGA Rangemaster Group plc -
01926 455 731
Simon Sporborg, Brunswick - 0207 404 5459