• Domino's Pizza UK & IRL posts mid-year profits

LONDON -- The first six months of 2002 have delivered good news at Domino's Pizza UK & IRL.

The London-based arm of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino's Pizza saw sales for the 26-week period ending June 30 grow 26 percent to £26.2m (U.S. $40.8 million).

Pre-tax profit increased nearly 46 percent to £1.72 million (U.S. $2.7 million) for the period, compared to £1.18 million (U.S. $1.8 million) in the same period last year.

The company currently has 255 outlets in the UK and Ireland, and plans to have 500 by 2006.

The company reported a £13,000 (U.S. $20,000) increase in interest charges it attributed principally to the construction of a new commissary in Perinth, Ireland. That facility is set to open in August.

Basic earnings per share jumped nearly 42 percent to 2.34 pence (U.S. 4 cents), up from 1.65 pence (U.S. 3 cents) for the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share jumped 35 percent to 2.20 pence (U.S. 3 cents), from 1.63 pence (U.S. 2 cents) last year.

CEO Stephen Hemsley told Dow Jones Newswires that "the business is rapidly approaching a position where all major infrastructure costs and royalty increases have been absorbed." From that point forward, he added, even marginal growth in systemwide sales will contribute positively to overall profitability.

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