Progress update from the Chief Executive
We have delivered another year of strong profit growth and cash generation in what continue to be challenging times for our customers around the world.
Group Chief Executive
Our 'Delivering Value' programme of self-help has been a great success so far with profits almost doubled since it started, return on capital up sharply and financial net debt eliminated. Despite significant economic headwinds over the last few years we are now a stronger, more valuable business. I am also delighted that we are now better able to accelerate our expansion where economic returns have been proven whilst also significantly increasing our dividend for our shareholders, many of whom are now our own colleagues.
Looking ahead, although I see no let up in the challenging environment in the short-term, I am excited by our future prospects. This year we will be stepping up the pace once more with a full set of activities in the final year of the first phase of 'Delivering Value' as well as mobilising the second phase, which is due to start in 2012. I believe we have an exciting growth opportunity, sustainable over the longer term, by creating a business that is the world's expert at making home improvement easier for customers. We are uniquely placed to use our scale, our network of international experience and our diversity for the benefit of our customers and shareholders.
Kingfisher plc is Europe's leading home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world, with nearly 860 stores in eight countries in Europe and Asia. Its main retail brands are B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt and Screwfix. Kingfisher also has a 50% joint venture business in Turkey with Koç Group, and a 21% interest in, and strategic alliance with, Hornbach, Germany's leading large format DIY retailer.