RANGEMASTER PERFORMING STRONGLY BUT MARKETS REMAIN TOUGH AND UNCERTAIN
AGA Rangemaster, the specialist in range cookers and kitchen living, today issues an interim management statement for the period from 1st July 2010 to 18th November 2010.
We have seen the seasonal pick up in activity during the key autumn sales period and expect to report results in line with the Board's expectations through to the end of 2010. This makes 2010 a year of revenue recovery and a beneficiary of cost cutting, tight cash management and product development.
Rangemaster is a successful growing brand and is set to be the principal contributor to the Group's performance in 2010, attributable to cooker volumes up over 5%; growth in exports to 25% of cooker sales' volumes; and the addition of products that complement the cooker. These products account for 30 pence in addition to every £1 of revenue in the UK from sales of Rangemaster cookers themselves. Growing sales of induction cookers, the introduction of the 100 cm width model and the success of our Rangemaster Design Centres across the country are all key features of the autumn.
AGA has seen volumes up by around 5% this year and the level of new leads continues to improve with customers attracted to the warm welcome home the AGA provides. However, Rayburn and Stanley volumes have so far declined further - a trend we expect to reverse in 2011 as the update of our range of all-in-one cooker boilers is completed. These upgraded products tie in with the important theme for us of energy management in the home. We have already seen the launch of the energy management centre in Kidderminster featuring our industry award-winning 'Eco Connect' product which manages the energy efficient running of heat from solar thermal and wood-burning stoves and Rayburn products.
Sales of stoves this autumn in Ireland are led by our new Irish designed and made Cara insert stove, which is 3 times more energy efficient than an open fire. Given order levels we expect to achieve record stove volumes in Ireland this year in spite of the challenging economic conditions.
Sales in North America have slowed again this autumn after a better first half, reflecting the extremely low levels of housing transactions.
Fired Earth's volumes are marginally ahead year-on-year but it is still operating at a loss.
We are focusing on the position of the Pension Scheme. Thorough analysis of the Scheme to determine how best to provide confidence and security to all parties remains a Group priority. On an accounting basis the Scheme was close to returning to surplus at the end of October 2010.
"We are encouraged by the performance of our brands - Rangemaster is having another successful year and we are pleased to see AGA volumes increasing. We continue to strengthen our range cooker portfolio and the product pipeline is excellent. Yet tough housing market conditions dictate caution.
Recent research we commissioned shows range cookers are on trend and aspirational and for many move the heart of the home from the living room to the kitchen. As we are focused on range cookers and kitchen living these trend lines provide confidence in our prospects." William McGrath, Chief Executive.
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William McGrath, Chief Executive, AGA Rangemaster - 01926 455731
Simon Sporborg/Charlotte Kenyon, Brunswick Group - 020 7404 5959