Global

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Chairman's statement

Dear Shareholder,

In 2013, Smith & Nephew generated good underlying revenue and trading profit growth.

We continued to focus investment on growth opportunities and returned significant value to Shareholders through increased dividends and a share buy-back programme.

Sir John BuchananMomentum increased throughout the year as we delivered on our strategy to reshape Smith & Nephew for the future.

Our revenue was $4,351 million, up 4% on an underlying basis. Advanced Wound Management delivered strong growth, led by Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, our major 2012 acquisition. Sports medicine joint repair had another successful year, and we improved our performance in Orthopaedic Reconstruction.

Almost 13% of our revenues now come from emerging market countries, up from just over 8% in 2010. We were one of the first companies in our sector to focus on these markets.

We are building sustainable businesses through the strategy of establishing direct relationships with customers, as well as developing tailored products. In 2013, we invested further in our existing teams and made acquisitions in Brazil, India and Turkey to strengthen our platform.

Our trading profit was up 5% on an underlying basis at $987 million. The trading profit margin of 22.7% met our expectations as we invested more in the emerging markets and in research & development, and cost of the US medical device excise tax ($24 million in 2013).

Ethics, compliance & governance

We give high priority to compliance and ethics, as well as health, safety and the environment. The Board continues to encourage management in their drive to ensure all of Smith & Nephew’s programmes are world-class.

The Board also places great emphasis on governance and is mindful of its responsibility to promote the long-term interests of the company for all our stakeholders. This is described in detail in the corporate Governance section of this Annual report (pages 44 – 85).

Creating sustainable value

Smith & Nephew has a long track record of creating value for Shareholders. For instance, we have paid a dividend every year since 1937. Since 2006, during my tenure as chairman, it is pleasing to report that we have delivered a compound annual growth rate in adjusted earnings per share of 8% against a FTSE 100 average of 6%, along with a dividend compound growth rate of 14%. And the share price is up more than 90% in that time. The Group generated trading cash flow of $5.9 billion between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2013, demonstrating our vitality over the long-term.

In 2013, we set out a Capital Allocation Framework that will govern how we prioritise the use of the strong cash flow we generate. This framework will guide our continued investment in organic growth, and maintenance of a progressive dividend. It also gives us headroom to make further acquisitions and includes a commitment to return any excess capital to Shareholders. it is underpinned by a desire to maintain a strong balance sheet to ensure solid investment grade credit metrics.

Following these principles, we spent $226 million on a share buy-back programme during the year. This, together with the 2012 dividend increase, resulted in a total distribution to Shareholders in 2013 of $465 million, two and a half times the level of the prior year.

The Board is pleased to propose a final dividend for the year of 17.0¢ per share, giving a total dividend for 2013 of 27.4¢, up 5% year-on-year.

Board changes

I will step down as Chairman of Smith & Nephew at the Annual General Meeting in April 2014. Roberto Quarta joined the Board as Non-executive director in December 2013 and will take over as Chairman. Roberto has impressive business and board experience and is chairman of IMI plc, a FTSE 100 listed engineering business and of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Europe, a private equity firm.

Our Senior Independent Non-executive Director, Richard de Shutter, and Non-executive Director Ajay Piramal, will also both retire at the Annual General Meeting. I would like to thank them for their service. in particular, Richard’s contribution in this most important role has been invaluable. We are fortunate to have as replacement the highly experienced Brian Larcombe, who will become Senior independent Non-executive Director.

In 2013, we welcomed to the Board Julie Brown as Chief Financial Officer and Michael Friedman as Non-executive Director. Julie has quickly established herself as an effective Executive Director and her influence is already seen in many areas, including the Capital Allocation Framework. Michael’s expertise in the US healthcare system and experience leading a major research and treatment institution has enhanced the Board.

Setting Smith & Nephew apart

During 2013, I was reminded of the quality of our people as we reviewed our responses to natural disasters, providing resources to aid recovery in the Philippines and in our own offices and communities, under Olivier Bohuon’s leadership, responding to a major flood at the Advanced Wound Management site in Hull, UK and to a tornado near our facility in Oklahoma city, US. The tenacity and compassion sets Smith & Nephew apart, as it has throughout our history of supporting healthcare professionals for more than 150 years.

It has indeed been a privilege working with the people at Smith & Nephew and to serve the interests of customers, employees and Shareholders. The company has shown great resilience in the recent economic environment, building services for customers and value for Shareholders. There is an excellent team in place, both Executive and Non-executive.

I wish the company well for a promising future.

 

  signature

Sir John Buchanan

Chairman

 

    Download "Group Strategic Report" from our Annual Report 2013 (2MB)

Annual General Meeting 2014

Notice of AGM and Chairman's letter

The Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday, 10 April 2014.

10 April 2014