Mark Cropper Named Chairman for UK's James Cropper

June 23, 2010 (Press Release) - James Cropper plc, the UK specialist paper-making and advanced materials group, announced [yesterday] that Mark Cropper has been appointed by the Board of Directors to serve as Chairman. The 36 year-old, who will take over as Chairman of the Cumbria based company on 28 July this year, will be the sixth generation of the Cropper family to lead the 165-year-old business. He takes over from his father, James Cropper, chairman since 1971.

The change at the top of one of Britain's oldest and most respected manufacturers coincides with favourable full year results. James Cropper plc has posted a pre-tax profit of GBP2.4 million compared to GBP0.9 million in the previous financial year. The improvement reflects a strong performance by James Cropper Speciality Papers, which recorded an Operating Profit of GBP3.4 million - the second highest in the firm's history - having recovered from an Operating Loss of GBP0.3 million in the year before.

James Cropper, Chairman, said: "I am delighted by the strong result we have delivered in challenging circumstances, which has allowed us to increase our dividend and reduce gearing to nil at our year end. Furthermore, I am confident that Speciality Papers' marketing led growth plans will progress during the coming year. However, this division's short-term profitability is currently being impacted by the upward movement in pulp prices. To offset this, price increases are currently being agreed with customers although these will not take effect immediately."

Cropper's advanced materials division, Technical Fibre Products, meanwhile, weathered difficult trading conditions in the wake of customer 'de-stocking' due to reduced economic activity. Turnover fell 14% with Operating Profit down GBP0.8 million to GBP1.3 million, although according to Mark Cropper TFP's sales to the aerospace, defence, security and consumer electronics sectors will build strongly in the next 12 months, as the impact of the recession on down stream customers begins to ease.

Mark Cropper said: "I am very fortunate to be taking over at a genuinely exciting time in our company's history. We remain in good shape in spite of the credit crunch, and I believe we can truly fly the flag for independent British manufacturing as it reasserts itself in the coming years".

SOURCE: James Cropper plc

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