GROUP CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT
The Group achieved another year of excellent results in 2007 and remains on track to meet or exceed all of the objectives that your Board set in their Vision 2010.
Headline turnover grew by $855million or 20% and was achieved whilst maintaining the group operating net profit margins. Profit before tax increased by 28% to $908 million – an improvement of $198 million over the prior year.
In addition, you will be pleased to note that our return on equity rose to 21.4% (2006 – 20.4%) and that our basic earnings per share grew by 27% to $3.53 (2006 – $2.77).
All of the operating sectors within the group performed in accordance with the objectives set for them. Our ongoing efforts of driving improved operational and cost efficiencies whilst targeting growth in all market segments is reflected in our 2007 results.
The Group will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of value and adherence to good corporate governance. Your Board of Directors is confident that our operating results in the future will continue to grow and have recommended a final dividend of $0.60 per ordinary share. This together with the interim dividend paid of $0.30 will ring the total dividend payable to shareholders for the year to $0.90 (2006 – $0.75).
Details of the final dividend will be submitted to the shareholders together with the annual report.