Macfarlane first-half turnover up 5.4% to £107m

Glasgow-based packaging and distribution firm Macfarlane Group said on Thursday its first-half turnover rose 5.4% to £107.5 million and profit before tax was 8.7% higher at £3.8 million.

Macfarlane employs almost 1,000 people at 30 sites, principally in the UK, but also in Ireland and Sweden.

Macfarlane chairman Stuart Paterson said: “The performance in the first six months of 2019 and our actions in place to increase the margin in the second half of the year, together with the normal seasonal uplift from the e-commerce sector in the final quarter, gives the board confidence that its full year expectations for 2019 will be achieved.

“Packaging Distribution grew sales by 4.4% in the first half of 2019.

“Sales revenue from existing customers was impacted by weaker demand and sales price deflation but this was offset by good new business growth and the benefit of the 2018 acquisitions of Tyler Packaging (Leicester) Limited and Harrisons Packaging Limited, as well as the recent acquisition of Ecopac (U.K.) Limited concluded at the start of May 2019 …

“Sales in our Manufacturing Operations were 16.0% above 2018, with strong demand for resealable labels mainly through new customer wins …

“The pension scheme deficit reduced to £9.0m at 30 June 2019 from £9.8m at 31 December 2018, mainly due to our continued payment of deficit reduction contributions during the six month period.

“The significant reduction in the discount rate in the first six months was largely offset by strong investment returns, justifying the focus on liability-driven investments to match the scheme’s liability profile.

“The board is recommending a 6.2% increase in the interim dividend to 0.69p per share to be paid on 10 October 2019 to shareholders on the register as at 20 September 2019 (2018: 0.65p per share).

“Our strategy is to deliver sustainable profit growth by focusing on added value products and services in our target market sectors, combined with the execution of value-enhancing acquisitions.

“MacfarlaneGroup’s performance in the first half of 2019 reflects the successful implementation of this strategy and we are confident that the group will continue to make further progress in the remainder of 2019.”