Macfarlane warns of slower demand; appoints chair

Aleen Gulvanessian

Shares of Macfarlane Group, the Glasgow-based packaging, design and distribution firm, fell about 4% on Thursday after it published half-year results warning that it expects to “experience a continuing challenging environment with inflationary pressure on our operating costs and slower demand from our e-commerce customers.”

Macfarlane also announced that former Eversheds Sutherland executive and corporate governance expert Aleen Gulvanessian will be its next chair.

Macfarlane added: “Overall, the group is confident that the effectiveness of our strategy, the diversity of the customers and sectors we serve, the quality of our people, and the resilience of our business model will ensure 2022 will be another year of growth for Macfarlane.

“Our expectations for the full year 2022 are unchanged.”

Macfarlane said its first-half revenue rose 14% to £139.2 million and profit before tax edged 3% higher to £8.8 million.

Outgoing Macfarlane chairman Stuart Paterson said: “The group has achieved a solid performance in the first half of 2022, especially when compared to a strong trading period in H1 2021.

“This has been achieved against the backdrop of a slowdown in spend from the e-commerce sector and significant inflationary pressure on operating costs.

“We have also made strategic IT investments and incurred start-up costs on our new North-west of England distribution centre.

“Our people have consistently demonstrated commitment and operating excellence as the business continues to grow and develop.”

Paterson said that after over nine years on the board he is standing down, effective September 30, and announced that his successor as chair will be Aleen Gulvanessian.

“Aleen joined the board in October 2021 as chair of the Remuneration Committee and in a short time has made a significant contribution through her corporate legal background and extensive commercial and governance experience.

“Aleen was selected after an extensive process involving a number of very capable external candidates. We expect to make an announcement on a new chair of the Remuneration Committee shortly.

“I wish Aleen, the board and all of Macfarlane’s employees continued success in the future and thank them for their excellent support during my tenure as chairman and non-executive director of Macfarlane Group.”