Flying Brands: from profits warning to bid approach

First-half profit from ongoing operations at Flying Brands
plunged from £2.7 million last year to £1.2 million.
Sales also fell, from £19.9 million to £18.9 million.
Worse still, the company revealed that its loss before tax after
write-offs related to the closure of continuity greeting cards
business Greetings Direct was £11.7 million, compared with a
profit of £3.1 million a year ago.

Gardening Direct was responsible for much of the decline; profit
from that division alone fell by £1 million. And in his
chairman’s statement to the Stock Exchange, Tim Trotter announced
that Flying Brands will terminate the licensing of Sarah Raven’s
Kitchen and Garden catalogue at the end of October because it
“could not derive enough value from the partnership”.

Chief executive Tricia Killen confirmed a number of directives
designed to turn the business around. For instance, Flying Brands
will continue with its rebranding of Flying Flowers and Gardening
Direct and will “optimise” its direct marketing
activity to use more targeted selections and marketing messages.

Following the financial announcement and ending speculation,
Flying Brands said that it received a “very preliminary
approach” from Tom Hunter’s West Coast Capital. The private
equity partnership had acquired 29.9 percent of Flying Brands in

Published: 8th September 2008


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