LONDON -- Photo-Me International pretax profit surged 15% in the first half of 2014, reaching £23 million ($38 million) and breaking records for the six-months ending Oct. 31. Revenue dipped to £101.3 million ($167.7 million) from £107.4 million ($177.8 million) a year earlier.
Photo-Me's vending operations comprise mostly photobooths, along with digital printing kiosks, photobook makers, amusement machines (kiddie rides in the UK) and business service equipment, as well as its new laundry machines. Its sales and service division develops and manufactures much of the equipment used in its operations.
Sales in the company's photobooth segment climbed during the first half of 2014, with unit numbers rising by 5% year over year. John Lewis, Photo-Me's nonexecutive chairman, credited the upswing on the rollout of the new Starck-designed booths and entry into new markets, led by China.
Photo-Me's chief said its Revolution-branded heavy-duty laundry machines made only a modest contribution to first-half results.
Photo-Me's plan to reduce manufacturing cost of its photobooths and laundry equipment is reportedly on track to reap rewards in 2014. "We have made good progress on costs in past years, but this will be overshadowed by the leap forward we will take in 2014 in reducing the manufacturing costs of both our photobooths and laundry units, by outsourcing to China and Hungary, respectively," Lewis said. "Not only does this open up the emerging markets for us, it enables us to increase manufacturing capacity with potential decrease in capital expenditure."
Photo Me reported £67.8 million ($11.8 million) in net cash at the end of October, an increase of £6.4 million ($10.6 million) since the end of April, even after paying combined tax and dividend payments of £12 million ($19.8 million).
"We are therefore increasing the interim dividend by 20% -- in line with what we said at the time of our preliminary results," Lewis reported.