Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Firstly, I congratulate Parker on its Centenary. It is a great occasion. It is very good to know that, of the hundred years, sixty of them have been in Britain. I was thrilled when I read the story of the Company. For me it was always a great ambition to have a Parker Pen when I was young, and it still is my habit to sign with one ...
I notice that you had a management buyout from the United States' Company. I notice too that, whereas the Company under its other ownership was making a loss. you have turned it round by making a really good profit. I know the effort that went into that. I know that you have to have superb design, superb manufacturing, excellent marketing, excellent administration and, above all, the greatest possible co-operation and spirit among all the people who work here. You have got it all. I am just as delighted as you are that you are now working for a company which - through your efforts - makes a pretty good profit. because everyone wants to know that they are doing well. That is one of the signs of success. It also means that there is a great future because, if you are making a profit. there is plenty to plough back to invest for the future - and that too you are doing. There is another very special reason why I should be pleased that you make a profit - it gives the Chancellor of the Exchequer something to tax ... So. long may you ao on making an even larger profit. employing more people and winning greater market share worldwide. It is wonderful now that Parker is British. Once again we can say 'British is Best'.
It was an immense privilege for me to be able to present those long service certificates ... particularly when it comes to 47 years' service - because I have only done 30. so there is hope for me yet! I am also very pleased that the history of this Company is such that Winston Churchill used Parker pens. President Reagan and Mr Gorbachev used Parker pens to sign the great Intermediate Nuclear Weapon Reduction Treaty, a Treaty achieved in our time, a Treaty that I think Britain had something to do with ... You really have had part of the history of this country running through your pens.
It has been fascinating to go round. You have got the latest technology, the latest engineering, the latest designs, and you are not only right up front. you are ahead of the rest. May you stay ahead of the rest. My best wishes to you for the future. for the coming hundred years - and many congratulations on all your efforts to date.