Photo-Me International hands out £11m special dividend

Serge Crasnianski, chief executive of Photome
Serge Crasnianski, chief executive of Photome
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BOOTH operator Photo-Me International put a big smile on investors’ faces on Monday by unveiling an £11 million special dividend for shareholders.

The company revealed in December that it was sitting on a £70m cash pile thanks to the turnaround strategy put in place in 2010 by returning chief executive Serge Crasnianski.

Crasnianski had been ousted as Photo-Me’s boss in 2007 but returned to the board two years later after the firm had run up debts of £23.5m.

Under his turnaround scheme, the firm sold Imaging Solutions, the group’s loss-making wholesale photograph processing laboratory.

Crasnianski will pocket some £2.4m from the special dividend thanks to his 22 per cent stake in the company.

“We have made great strides in the past three years, both in terms of product development and financial performance, particularly cash generation,” Crasnianski said.

“We have some exciting products to launch in the coming months and it is pleasing to be in a position to be able to finance these internally and at the same time increase our returns to shareholders.”

The company resumed regular pay-outs to shareholders in the year to 30 April 2010 and said it would continue with a “progressive” dividend policy.

The 3p special dividend will be paid on 8 March to shareholders who are on Photo-Me’s register on 15 February.

The Photo-Me booth was invented in the United States in 1946 by Gupp Allen and Ignatius Dunlap Baker. There are now 21,000 booths in 20 countries.