Writtle half year trading report and interim dividend announcement

Writtle continued to perform well in the first half of 2013 and I am pleased to include fuller financial information with this half-year report by including an unaudited profit and loss account and an unaudited balance sheet.

Results and dividends
Turnover increased to £44.18m (2012: £42.84m) and profit before tax and minority interests was £2.53m (2012: £1.93m). The company will be paying an interim dividend of 2.75p per share (2012: 2.5p) on 31 October 2013 to shareholders on the register on 19 September 2013.

The result benefitted from the two transactions announced in the 2012 annual report as post year end events: the £252,000 profit on disposal of Connect Archive and Mailing Products on 13 March 2013, and the profits made since the acquisition of Technik on 15 March 2013. Further financial details of both transactions will be provided in the 2013 annual report.

Writtle invests in media and marketing communications businesses with the aim of creating a substantial international marketing group.

Writtle’s model of decentralised growth and equity involvement remains unchanged and the benefits continue to be reflected in our consistent overall performance. Individual operating companies continue to push for organic growth leaving Writtle’s central team, amongst other things, to concentrate on bolt-on acquisitions for operating companies and opportunities to integrate larger groups into Writtle.

Trading for the first half was above budget as the markets in which Writtle operates improved.

Particularly strong first half performances were recorded by The Team, Creo Retail Marketing, Magnet Harlequin, Epoch, Williams Murray Hamm and Seymourpowell, and these more than compensated for weaker showings from 20.20 and Interact, both of which had been high-fliers in previous years. We expect some short-term fluctuations within our portfolio and we take a long-term view on the prospects of each business.

Cash generation was again strong with net debt reducing by a further £1.39m since the year end.

Looking ahead, we see strengthening markets and good prospects for the rest of the year
and into 2014. We continue to benefit from international growth and this has been recognised for the second successive year by sixth position in the Sunday Times International Track 200, which ranks UK private companies with the fastest growing overseas sales.

We look forward to achieving another successful year.

Robert Essex
19 September 2013