Rexam's underlying profit rises

Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:57am EST

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Beverage-can maker Rexam Plc reported a marginal rise in full-year underlying pretax profit as slower sales in Europe and those at its healthcare unit offset growth in the Americas.

Rexam, one of three major global players in the beverage can market along with Ball Corp and Crown Holdings, said it expected to make progress this year despite uncertain economic conditions and continued cost pressures.

Underlying pretax profit rose 1 percent to 418 million pounds ($646 million) for the year ended Dec. 31 from 414 million pounds a year earlier. Underlying profit excludes the sale of its personal care business.

The company sold its underperforming personal care business in July in two parts for $709 million, saying it would return about $580.5 million of the proceeds to investors.

Revenue grew about 2 percent to 4.31 billion pounds.

Beverage cans volume rose 6 percent.

Operating profit from Rexam's beverage cans business, which generates 90 percent of total revenue, grew 5 percent to 465 million pounds helped by global growth in specialty cans and a strong recovery in its market share in the United States.

Rexam's healthcare packaging unit, which makes bronchial inhalers and injection syringes, had a difficult year largely due to one of our customer's products coming off patent. Operating profit from the business fell 1 percent to 65 million pounds.

The company, which counts Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA, Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo Inc and Red Bull among its customers, raised its final dividend to 10.2 pence per share from 9.7 pence a year earlier.

Shares in the FTSE-100 company closed at 476.7 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday. They have risen about 25 percent over the past year.

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