Why Rexam Is Up 23% This Year

LONDON -- Rexam (LSE: REX.L  ) has advanced 23% to 450 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100.

The company, which is one of the world's leading producers of consumer packaging, seems to have impressed investors with a series of positive statements.

During February, Rexam issued its final results for 2011. Underlying pre-tax profits were up 15% to 450 million pounds, and net debt was reduced by almost 30%. The strong results enabled the company to increase its total dividend by an impressive 20%. Plans to divest the group's personal-care business were also announced.

During May, there was an interim management statement, which revealed there had been strong growth in beverage cans in Western Europe, continued good performance in specialty cans in North America, and some year-on-year growth in volume in South America.

Then, in August, Rexam published its half-year report, with an encouraging performance underpinned by its beverage cans business, which saw a 6% increase in volume and a 9% rise in underlying operating profit.

Commenting on the half-year results, chief executive Graham Chipchase said:

We are encouraged by the progress of the continuing business in the first half and, in spite of a challenging trading environment, our overall performance was in line with our expectations. We are pleased to have announced the proposed sale of the Personal Care business and our intention to return around 370 million pounds to shareholders once the transactions are completed. In an increasingly uncertain macroeconomic environment, we will continue to focus on generating cash, managing costs and return on capital employed for the rest of 2012. Our progress to date gives us confidence of achieving our 15% return on capital employed target by the end of 2013.

Rexam's next trading statement will be published on Nov. 15 and may reveal further upbeat news to impress investors.

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