By Patrick Avenell

SYDN EY: Breville has this morning announced encouraging results for the first half of FY09. Although there was some downturn reported, the report for the six months ending 31 December 2008 provides cautious optimism in these uncertain economic times.

The major points of this morning’s release are that group sales increased to $255.8 million (up 3 per cent), group underlying EBITDA dropped slightly to $24.7 million (down 0.5 per cent) and group underlying profit after tax was $10.8 million. In order to maintain a conservative approach in the short-to-medium term, the interim dividend amount has been more than halved to 4 cents per share.

Speaking about these results was Breville Group company secretary Shiraz Khan.

“The Group traded satisfactorily in the most challenging economic environment for many years, especially given the pace and volatility of change,” said Khan. “Following an encouraging start, the deepening economic and financial crisis impacted the Group’s performance in the latter part of the half.

“The Australian business, underpinned by a strong pipeline of new product launches, performed particularly well in the difficult economic circumstances.”

Khan further reported that the Group’s international businesses had experienced a downturn in sales, with North American sales dropping 3 per cent and Asia down 24 per cent.

Central to the Group’s half-year results is the continued stressing that Breville will continue to invest in product innovation and development.