BPI profit up 7% to £28.6m as it looks to buy

Greenock-based packaging firm British Polythene Industries (BPI) said its operating profit rose 7% to £28.6 million in 2015 helped by the return to profit of its North American operations.

BPI also said 2016 had started well and that the “continued weakness of sterling should enhance our results, firstly through translation of our significant overseas earnings and secondly by improving the competitiveness of our UK business.”

The company said: “We also expect continued success in supplying agricultural film markets”

BPI said it continues to review a number of acquisition opportunities, both in the UK and on mainland Europe.

“It remains to be seen whether we can bring any of these to conclusion, but opportunities appear greater than they have been for some time,” said the firm.

For 2015, adjusted earnings per share was up 16% to 76.6p and the BPI dividend will rise 12.5% to 18p per share.

“Our results have shown an increase for the seventh consecutive year,” said Cameron McLatchie, BPI chairman.

“This outcome is extremely encouraging given turbulent polymer costs during the first half, the adverse impact of currency on our European profits, and a year which delivered a marginal overall reduction in volumes.

“2016 has started well and your board is confident that 2016 will deliver further progress.”

BPI said its UK and European returns in 2015 were affected by turbulent raw material costs in the first half.

“However, UK returns still increased year on year as a result of a strong performance from our recycling operations,” said the firm.

BPI said 2015 sales were £468 million compared to £499 million in 2104.