Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

Profits up for International Greetings

Hatfield-based company International Greetings has posted some positive preliminary financial results for the year to 31 March 2011 - up on last year.

International Greetings PLC is one of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers, importers and distributors of giftwrap, stationery, gift bags, crackers, greeting cards and accessories.

The UK businesses accounted for 54 percent of the Group’s revenue for the year, seeing an increase in sales of 8 percent.

Overall, financial highlights saw its sales by up 9 percent to £217 million from continuing operations.  Profits at the company were also up to £4.9m compared with £0.7 million the year before.  Debt was also reduced by more than £4m to £44.4m. Operational highlights included a successful launch of everyday single cards with six major retailers across the globe, plus record breaking production levels achieved with 1.5 million metres a day of gift wrap produced in Holland and 1 million of crackers a day reached in their China factory.

The main growth areas were increased volumes of gift wrap, everyday greetings cards and licensed stationery. This was the first full year the group produced single greetings cards. It also supplied everyday greetings cards to two of the UK’s leading multiple grocery chains during the year.
Paul Fineman, CEO commented:  “It has been another good year of progress and we are delighted to have grown both sales and profit whilst continuing to reduce debt. We have also restructured our funding to strengthen our balance sheet.

“Our continued focus on providing great value, innovative products and excellent standards of service to our global customer base means that we remain well placed to meet challenging market conditions.
“We continue to address further methods for improving efficiency and have created a solid platform for continued profitable growth. We are confident that the Group is now in a good shape to exploit further opportunities in the market.”

Chairman Keith James said in his statement: “Following the restructuring of the past few years, we are a leaner, fitter business and I am delighted to report that this has contributed to another good year of progress for the group. Our strategy remains unaltered, namely to concentrate on profitable organic growth.”

During the year IG concentrated on three things, improving the range and quality of its products and services, maximising global cross-selling opportunities, cost control and improving productivity. The company cites other reasons for its success as prompt and effective action taken to mitigate cost inflation and significant expansion of internet based activities providing services to customers.

A decision was made to focus Asia as a service provider of manufacturing and procurement operations, whose main customers are UK businesses. Both the China factory and the majority of the Hong Kong procurement operations are now managed by the UK operational management team, and as a result Asia is now within the reporting of the UK operations, in line with the company’s internal reporting framework.

IG UK also successfully integrated its design and product innovation service into its South Wales operation and repatriated the former Far East based automated ribbon and bow manufacturing into Wales. The efficient ribbon and bow manufacturing processes in Wales combined with the saving in freight from China, helped them to achieve a year-on-year 100 percent sales growth.

Keith James will retiring from the board at the Annual General Meeting, to be succeeded by John Charlton, who was appointed a Non-Executive Director in 2010. Charles Uwakaneme, one of the executive directors, will also be retiring at the Annual General Meeting where he will continue work with IG as a consultant on a part-time basis.

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