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Tumultuous year for Bluestar produces record profit

Thursday, 25 August 2005
By Print 21 Online Article

The trans-Tasman printing group posted operating revenues of $368.4 million and earnings of $50.3 million. Compared to the prior year, revenue was up by 8.8 per cent and earnings by 13.4%. Net profit after tax was $15.1 million compared to $9.4 million the previous year.

According to Keith Brodie, managing director, strong print demand, combined with focus and commitment from management and staff, helped the company power through a challenging year.

“Generally print demand was strong in both Australia and New Zealand. In the early part of the year BPSG’s key focus was on several significant equipment implementations in both our sheetfed operations and at Webstar Australia,” he said.

“These installations were all successfully completed and the resulting lift in capacity enabled BSPG to win several new sizable print contracts. The major benefits from these contracts will be realised in the next financial year.”

The blaze that destroyed the Format premises, one of two Bluestar sheetfed facilities in Wellington, triggered a major refurbishment that got the facility back in production with no disruption to customer supply.

“With support from our staff, suppliers, customers, and other BSPG business units Format was able to maintain and service all its customers throughout a period where its production capability was severely limited. With a concerted effort from staff, suppliers and building contractors, brand new pre-press, print and bindery equipment was very quickly installed and the business fully re-established by early December 2004,” said Brodie.

In November 2004 BSPG acquired the business of Sydney-based printing company Merritt Madden Printing and its pre-press operations Enhanced Graphics. These two businesses were successfully folded into the company’s existing Sydney business unit, Link Printing. Print machinery and bindery equipment purchased as part of the acquisition has been transferred to and installed at four other business units.

“Webstar Australia is now firmly established as Australia’s leading high-quality mid-volume web offset printer winning several medals at the 2005 Australian Print Awards. This is a notable achievement given Webstar Australia’s relatively short history,” said Brodie.

“This past year has been very busy with large installations, a major fire and an acquisition. Throughout the year management and staff have kept their focus and commitment and delivered a strong result. We thank them for their outstanding contribution.”

During the year BSPG generated cash flow from operating activities of $38.3 million. Overall net debt at 30 June 2005 was $100.8 million and total equity and capital funds were $47.3 million. Total assets as at June 2005 were $230.7 million.

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