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Preliminary Final Report & On-Market Buy-Back

Document date:  Wed 03 Nov 1999
Published:  Wed 03 Nov 1999 12:58:55
Document No:  154638
Document part:  H
Market Flag:  Y

HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     

The Directors of Siddons Ramset Limited are pleased to announce
continuing growth in sales and profits for the half year to 31
December 1997.

Operating profit after tax increased by 14.3% to $12.855M.

Sales for the period rose 27% to $191.873M and included Prager Tools
for 5 months and Boustead Fasteners for 3 months.

In comparing this half year with the previous corresponding period,
it should be noted that Howard Silvers furniture hardware and
Techflow valves and mining supplies are also included for the first
time. These distribution businesses generally have lower margins than
some of the group's traditional businesses.


Overall our Australian businesses produced a good result in a very
competitive market, with a particularly pleasing profit from Proline
and an improved contribution from Ramset.


The New Zealand operations of Ramset and Welding have both
encountered tighter trading conditions and consequently profits are
slightly down on the comparable period last year.


Asian sales represent approximately 5% of group sales and although
there are economic problems in certain countries, results to date
have not seriously impacted the group. A good performance by Ramset
Hong Kong has offset a slow down in our other Asian markets.

In the U.K. Ramset significantly improved profits following higher
sales and better margins.

The South African operation increased sales but this was not
reflected in profits due to market development costs.


The higher profits have resulted in earnings per share of 24.1 cents
compared with 21.5 cents for the previous corresponding period.

Directors have declared a 12 cents fully franked dividend, up from 11
cents previously, payable on 30 April 1988, with the record date for
determining entitlements being 9 April 1998.

Unless there is a slowdown in the Australian economy or a further
deterioration in the Asian economies, Directors anticipate the full
year's results will exceed F97.

N Wright 

more to follow                                                                                                                                                                     1