By Liz White, ERJ staff
London-Ian Martin, chairman of condom manufacturer and footcare specialist SSL International plc, said at the firm's Annual General Meeting on 20 July that, Current trading is in line with our expectations and we are encouraged by our performance.â€
Martin, who is being replaced as chairman by Gerald Corbett on 1 Aug, added: We believe that the outlook for the remainder of the year and beyond is promising.â€
For fiscal year 2005 (ending March 2005) SSL had operating profit for the continuing business of Â£39.8 million on sales of Â£426.3 million (2004 operating profit Â£31.3 million; sales Â£408.2 million).
Sales of its Durex brand condoms rose 4.4 percent in the year, while Scholl footcare sales were up 5.3 percent. The firm ended fiscal 2005 with net debt down to Â£88.2 million versus 2004's figure of Â£227.5 million).
Discussing these results, chief executive Gary Watts said the group had made a very promising start to our three year turnaround programme. â€¦ We are on track to achieve our Â£52 million operating profit target by March 2007.
New SSSl chairman Corbett, well known from his 1997-2000 period as chief executive of Railtrack plc, is currently chairman of Woolworths Group plc and led its de-merger from Kingfisher plc in August 2001.
Ian Martin has played a crucial role in SSL's re-emergence as a growing consumer healthcare company, said Watts, in an SSL statement, also welcoming Corbett to the SSL board. Watts described Corbett as an experienced chairman with a strong background in international, consumer facing businesses, who will make a major contribution to the future of SSL.â€
Corbett commented that SSL is an interesting business at an interesting time, with a great portfolio of leading global brands such as Durex and Scholl, strong management and a number of growth opportunitiesâ€.