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Preliminary Final Report & On-Market Buy-Back

Document date:  Wed 03 Nov 1999
Published:  Wed 03 Nov 1999 09:23:33
Document No:  154638
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  Y

HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     

Pacific Dunlop today announced a major restructuring of its Cables
Group including the sale of its communications cable businesses and
the closure of its building wire plant at Geebung in Brisbane.

The communications cables business has been sold to Belden Inc, of
the United States, for $26 million. Belden has also entered into a
conditional agreement to purchase Pacific Dunlop's 51 per cent
interest in Optix Australia Ltd, which manufactures optical fibre.
This transaction should be finalised in the near future.

The sale, effective from February 28, 1998, covers the Olex optical
fibre cable, metallic telephone cable and data cable operations of
the Pacific Dunlop Cables Group.

Belden is a major manufacturer of high performance communications
products for world markets. It plans to use the newly-acquired
businesses to establish an Australian manufacturing base for Asia-
Pacific markets and will continue to use the existing Tottenham site
in Melbourne.

The Managing Director of Pacific Dunlop, Mr Rod Chadwick, said the
sale price comfortably exceeded book value.

"We made the decision to sell the communications cable businesses
late last year as part of a longer term plan to capitalise on the
Cables Group's strong market shares and proprietary technology in the
more profitable energy and construction markets in Australia and New
Zealand over the coming year", Mr Chadwick said.

"The closure of the Geebung plant is part of the same performance
improvement plan. Geebung's operations will be transferred to our
state-of-the-art facility at Wetherill Park, Sydney, where the cost
of production will be significantly lower. The Geebung plant is now
more than 30 years old and has found it increasingly difficult to

"Both these moves will leave us with a tighter, more focused and
profitable domestic cables business, addressing a number of the key
issues which led to the Cables Group's severe fall in profit in the
first half".

Mr Chadwick said in view of the resultant scaling back of the Cables
Group, its Managing Director, Mr Ian Campbell, had decided to pursue
other opportunities and would be leaving the Company on March 6,
1998. He will be succeeded by Mr Andrew Stobart, Group General
Manager, Energy.

He also announced the decision of Mr Barry Saunders, Managing
Director of Pacific Distribution, to take early retirement. An
international search is underway for his successor.

Mr Chadwick said that following an extensive internal and external
search, Mr David Marginson had been appointed General Manager ALH
Electrical. (ALH Electrical forms part of Pacific Distribution.) Mr
Marginson had held a number of senior executive positions within
Pacific Dunlop, most recently as head of the Strategic Sourcing

"I would like to acknowledge the commitment and contribution of Mr
Campbell and Mr Saunders to the development of both their businesses
over a long period", Mr Chadwick said.

For further information:

John Hine, GM Corporate Affairs, Pacific Dunlop