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Fiberweb sees stable sales at constant currency in 2008
Feb '09
Fiberweb plc, the international nonwoven fabrics producer, announces its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2008.

- A solid year of recovery, with good progress in the turnaround programme

- Stable sales at constant currency, with stability in Hygiene and growth in market share in Industrial

- High volatility in raw material pricing , but despite significant H2 raw material price reductions, no significant net impact on profitability over the year as a whole

- Third consecutive half-year of growth in underlying operating margin , reaching 4.0% in H2 2008

- 36% growth in underlying operating profit (+15% at constant currency), with central costs reduced by 25%

- Reported debt increase of £12.3 million, represents a reduction of £32.4 million in debt at constant currency with excellent working capital performance

- Satisfactory covenant headroom at year end

- 92% growth in adjusted earnings per share to 5.0p before a further 2.4p earnings benefit from tax credit, producing total 7.4p adjusted earnings per share; maintained 2.5p final dividend

Commenting on the results, Malcolm Coster, Chairman, said: “I am delighted that 2008 saw a continuing solid recovery in the Group's performance, despite a high degree of cost volatility and recessionary pressures in most markets.

We made significant progress in all our priority operational areas, and the benefit of a mixed portfolio of defensive hygiene businesses and more cyclical industrial businesses was clearly demonstrated. The disposals in the first half plus an excellent further reduction in working capital enabled Fiberweb to end the year with substantial debt reduction at constant currency and satisfactory headroom to the Group's banking covenants.

With our banking facility not maturing until October 2011 and strong earnings and cash performance in 2008, the Board is confident in proposing to maintain the dividend.”

Daniel Dayan, Chief Executive Officer, added: “While the economic outlook in Fiberweb's main markets remains challenging, we expect the benefits of previous restructuring plus ongoing cost reductions and investments, together with the recent significant fall in raw material prices to mitigate the impact of the downturn.

The defensive nature of our Hygiene businesses and opportunities for further share gains in our Industrial businesses through product and channel innovation provide a strong platform for further progress.”

Fiberweb plc

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