ATG 2.63% 37.0¢ articore group limited

announcement: directors intentions

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    The financial performance of Austin Group Limited for the half year ending 31
    December was $2.75M after tax, a record half yearly result for the Company. This was an 89% improvement over the previous year, and has set a new benchmark for future earnings. As Austin’s financial performance has become better known by the market, the amount of interest in Austin Group Limited from analysts, small institutions and other investors has significantly increased.
    Numerous analysts and brokers have offered the view that the liquidity in the Company’s shares needs to be improved. Consequently, since September last year, all Directors have made shares available to fulfill some institutional and other investor interest in Austin Group Limited.
    As a consequence of this, the number of shareholders in Austin Group Limited has
    increased from 522 at 30 June 2002 to 739 at 28 February 2003. This improved liquidity has benefits for all shareholders in trading their shares and has enhanced the flexibility of Austin Group to interface with the capital market. In that time, the Austin share price has risen from 34.5 cents on 30 June 2002 to 56 cents on 20 March 2003.
    The board recently announced the appointment of Brian Beattie as a Director. Mr.
    Beatlie previously held the position of Managing Director of both Target and Coles
    Supermarkets. Appointment of another new Director with fashion banding and retail
    experience is imminent. The Board are also currently seeking a another Director with
    public company, clothing and financial experience.
    The Company is now substantially restructured, focused, profitable, and debt free. The Directors agree that a Board with significant industry skills is now needed lo take the Company to the next level. If that can be done, Mr Williams says he will stand down as Chairman for a Director that has superior industry skills and the ability to grow Austin further.
    The Company will not change its focus on growing sales to the independent clothing
    sector. As previously announced, sales growth for the second half remains 20% above
    last year’s levels and the Company is on track to better its budgets for the period ending 30 June 2003.
    The Directors are confident that the increase in forecast sales will translate into increased profits for the year ending 30 June 2003.
    The Company has just released its new summer ranges to be sold in the first half of next financial year. These ranges include new initiatives aimed at increasing market share within the independent clothing sector.
    Austin Group Limited is making further refinements to its Australasian sales structure to improve customer service and fulfill the increased demand for its new and existing products.
    As a result of these new initiatives the Directors see early indications that there will be
    another strong financial performance in the period ending 31 December 2003.
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