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James Cropper Appoints New Chairman as Profits Increase

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Specialty paper producer James Cropper plc, U.K., this week reported that Mark Cropper has been appointed by its board of directors to serve as chairman. The 36-year-old, who will take over as chairman of the Cumbria based company on July 28, will be the sixth generation of the Cropper family to lead the 165-year-old business. He takes over from his father, James Cropper, chairman since 1971.

The change at the top of one of Britain's oldest manufacturers coincides with favorable full year results. James Cropper plc has posted a pre-tax profit of GBP 2.4 million compared with GBP 0.9 million in the previous financial year. The improvement reflects a strong performance by James Cropper Specialty Papers, which recorded an operating profit of GBP 3.4 million (the second highest in the firm's history), having recovered from an operating loss of GBP 0.3 million the year before.

Cropper's advanced materials division, Technical Fibre Products, meanwhile, weathered difficult trading conditions in the wake of customer "de-stocking" due to reduced economic activity. Turnover fell 14% with operating profit down GBP 0.8 million to GBP 1.3 million, although according to Mark Cropper, TFP's sales to the aerospace, defense, security, and consumer electronics sectors will build strongly in the next 12 months, as the impact of the recession on down stream customers begins to ease.


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