Results in line with Board’s expectations, return to growth in both countries, significant increase in dividend

Northgate plc (“Northgate”, the “Company” or the “Group”) announces its preliminary results for the year ended 30 April 2014.

Financial highlights

• 22% increase in underlying profit before tax to £60.3m (2013 – £49.5m);

• Profit before tax of £51.2m (2013 – loss of £11.4m);

• Underlying basic earnings per share 35.1p (2013 – 29.2p);

• Basic earnings per share 29.9p (2013 – (5.5)p);

• Net debt decreased by 5% to £346.1m (April 2013 – £362.7m):
o Gearing reduced to 91% (April 2013 – 102%);

• Return on capital employed reduced to 9.9% (April 2013 – 11.8%) as anticipated, due to the  reduction in the number of vehicles sold and the investment made to grow the UK business;

•  37% increase in dividend per share to 10.0p per share (2013 – 7.3p).

Operational highlights

• UK vehicles on hire growth in the year of 4,500 (10.4%), including 1,800 from the seven new sites opened since February 2013 (2013 – reduction of 3,300);

• Vehicles on hire growth of 2,600 (8.1%) in Spain (2013 – reduction of 1,900);

• Four new sites opened in the UK since 30 April 2013;

• Average utilisation over the period of 88% in the UK (2013 – 88%) and 92% in Spain (2013 – 90%);

• Closing fleet of 53,900 in the UK (April 2013 – 49,900) and 37,800 in Spain (April 2013 – 35,100).

Bob Mackenzie, Chairman, commented:

“We are pleased that as a result of the work done over recent years, the business has returned to growth in both the UK and Spain, with increases in the number of vehicles on hire over the year, partly driven by the opening of new sites in the UK to increase customer coverage.

There is good momentum in both businesses as a result of investment and changes to the commercial and operational teams and whilst we remain committed to investing in future growth, we believe that the strength of our balance sheet will allow us to further enhance shareholder returns through a continuation of our progressive dividend policy.

The Group continues to trade in line with our expectations and the Board remains confident that the business is well positioned to maximise further opportunities for continued growth.”    

There will be a presentation to analysts at 9.30am today at Numis, 5th floor, London Stock Exchange building, 10 Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LT.

For further information, please contact:

Northgate plc                   01325 467558
Bob Mackenzie, Chairman
Chris Muir, Group Finance Director

MHP Communications       020 3128 8100
Andrew Jaques
Barnaby Fry
Simon Hockridge
Jack Holden

See the full results announcement