Macfarlane sales 15% ahead in first quarter

Glasgow-based packaging firm Macfarlane Group said on Tuesday its sales in the first quarter were 15% ahead of the same period in 2020 and that group profit for the year to date is also well ahead of that achieved in 2020. 

Macfarlane Group said its manufacturing operations grew sales by 45% compared to the same period in 2020, reflecting ongoing strength in its labels business, some recovery in its design and manufacture business and the initial benefit from the acquisition of GWP Holdings Limited.

In a trading statement for the firm’s AGM, Macfarlane chairman Stuart Paterson said: “Macfarlane Group has made a positive start to 2021, with sales in the first quarter 15% ahead of the same period in 2020.  

“Group profit for the year to date is also well ahead of that achieved in 2020. 

“We have grown our Packaging Distribution business by 10%, with strong sales to our e-commerce retail customers and some signs of recovery from our industrial customers being offset by continued weakness in sales to our aerospace, high street retail and hospitality customers. 

“Our Manufacturing Operations grew sales by 45% compared to the same period in 2020. 

“This reflected ongoing strength in our Labels business, some recovery in our Design and Manufacture business and the initial benefit from the acquisition of GWP Holdings Limited …

“We acquired GWP, a protective packaging manufacturing and distribution business based in Wiltshire, on 1 March 2021 and a month later we acquired Carters Packaging (Cornwall) Limited, the leading distributor of protective packaging  in the South-West of England. 

“Both businesses are progressing well post-acquisition …

“Following these acquisitions net debt has increased to £6.0m (31 December 2020: £0.5m). This remains well within the Group’s bank facilities of £30m which are committed until December 2025 …

“Covid-19, supply shortages and raw material price increases will continue to have an impact on the markets we serve for the remainder of 2021.

“However, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to address such challenges and effectively support our customers.

“We are therefore confident that the resilience of our business model, together with the skill and commitment of our people, will ensure 2021 will be another year of good progress for Macfarlane Group.”

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