GROWTH IN AGA AND RANGEMASTER COOKER SALES BOOSTS 2010
AGA Rangemaster, the specialist in range cookers and kitchen living, today issues a trading update ahead of its preliminary announcement of the results for the year ended 31st December 2010 which will be made on Friday 11th March 2011.
AGA Rangemaster performed well in November and December and traded in line with the Board's expectations through to the end of 2010. Revenues for the year were up 5% on 2009's £245 million. Tight cash management and the focus on costs helped provide a good cash flow and at 31st December 2010 net cash exceeded £33 million - a further improvement on last year end's net cash of £28 million. This is after a £2 million deficit recovery payment to the Group's Pension Scheme.
Increased sales of AGA and Rangemaster cookers boosted performance in 2010. Sales of AGA cookers closed strongly and were well up year on year. Overall cast iron cooker sales, including Rayburn and Stanley - where sales are largely in Ireland - were lower in the full year but ahead in the second half. Rangemaster cooker sales volumes were up nearly 5% in the year. Sales were particularly good in the 200 Rangemaster design centres where comprehensive ranges of Rangemaster appliances are available. Sales of induction models of Falcon and Mercury lines and of branded related appliances such as fridges were all strong. 24% of Rangemaster cooker sales were exports - up over 21% on 2009. France is now its largest export market. Fired Earth saw an improving trend line later in the year leaving like-for-like orders up 2% in the year. Cookware sales for AGA and Divertimenti beat expectations over the Christmas period.
AGA Marvel in North America benefited from recently completed business integration programmes. Consumer markets, however, continue to be weak and sales were marginally lower. Grange had a satisfactory year in Europe and saw losses cut in North America.
Our product development initiatives are already having an impact and the launch pipeline for 2011 is excellent. AGA, Rayburn, Rangemaster, AGA Marvel and Fired Earth all have major launches planned for the first half year.
The Group received cash of £7.6 million on 7th January 2011 on the exercise of an option held by Niagara Corporation to acquire the freeholds of certain properties used by metal processing operations it acquired from the Group in 1999. Net income in 2010 from these properties was £0.8 million and the sale will give rise to a book profit in 2011 of around £0.6 million.
The Group expects a judgement from a German Court this year relating to the valuation of a minority shareholding in a business which the Group acquired in 1998 and sold in 2001. A provision to meet possible future costs arising has been maintained for some years.
William McGrath, Chief Executive, commented:
"Our two core brands, Rangemaster and the classic AGA, put in strong performances and were key to the sales rebound we saw during 2010. We now have a solid financial and operational base to build on, supported by an excellent range of new products coming down the track. Despite the continued uncertain markets, the Group feels well positioned as we move into 2011."
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William McGrath, Chief Executive, AGA Rangemaster Group plc - 01926 455731
Simon Sporborg/Charlotte Kenyon, Brunswick Group - 020 7404 5959