q Underlying sales growth of 11 per cent before impact of currencies
q Double digit sales growth in Europe
q Strong growth in Asia and North America
q New products support double digit growth in equipment revenues
q Continued investment to build our digital print capability
q Dividend increased by 5 per cent
Peter Byrom, Chairman, commented: “The Group has delivered underlying sales growth of 11 per cent over the first six months of the year, benefiting from more stable economic conditions in many markets. This stability has led to increased customer confidence and a general increase in capital investment. Underlying pre-tax profit increased by 10 per cent and, following another period of strong cash flow, we have increased the interim dividend by 5 per cent to 7.98 pence per share.
“Our businesses in Europe and Asia both reported double digit revenue growth and our growth in the USA was 9 per cent. New products introduced in 2013 have helped increase equipment revenues in the period by 14 per cent despite increased price competition in Asia and other developing markets.
“Our new multi-colour N610i digital label press has been well received by customers and we have completed and recognised revenue in respect of eight installations in the first six months.
“We invested £8.9 million in Research and Development. In May 2014, we launched a number of new products at the Interpack exhibition held in Germany. We have an ongoing programme of investment to maintain product leadership and competitive advantage.
“We are pleased with the progress in results over the first six months of 2014 and we remain confident that, subject to continuing stability in market conditions and business confidence, we will meet our expectations for the full year.
“We are cautious about prospects for the business in 2015. The Board believes that results next year could be broadly similar to 2014 as a result of the competitive pricing environment in Asia and other developing markets and the need for additional investment in R&D.
We remain optimistic about the longer-term prospects for the business.”