• England's Ask Central reports profits for '01

ST. ALBANS -- England-based Ask Central restaurant group is predicting 2001 earnings will meet expectations.

According the BBC's Website, on Dec. 31 the company reported pre-tax profits of nearly $15 million on sales of almost $88 million (all figures U.S.D).

The pizza and pasta chain, which was founded in 1993, has grown to 200 units, and includes three restaurants: Ask (a pizza chain), Zizzi and iT's Cafe. The company employs 2,500 people.

Ask has enlarged its board of directors in response to the company's growth. Neil Blows, a partner at the law firm of Glovers, will become a non-executive director and bring experience in finance and commercial real estate purchases. Julia Fleet, wife of non-executive director Andrew Fleet, becomes an operational executive director. Ms. Fleet joined Ask in 1998, and is responsible for the day-to-day control of Ask restaurants in central London. Prior to that, she amassed 10 years in restaurant management.

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