Macfarlane shares plummet as Q1 trading disappoints

Shares of Macfarlane Group, the Glasgow-based packaging, design and distribution firm, fell as much as 10% after it published an AGM trading update covering 2024 to date that revealed first quarter sales and profits below the same period in 2023.

“Sales in the first quarter were 9.5% lower than the same period in 2023 with continued weak customer demand and price deflation with the profit impact being partially offset by strong gross margins and the benefit of acquisitions …” said Macfarlane.

“The group expects an improved trading performance in the second half of 2024 through the conversion of a strong new business pipeline combined with some sales recovery from existing customers, good management of gross margins, control of costs and further benefits from M&A activity.”

Headquartered in Glasgow, Macfarlane Group employs over 1,000 people at 40 sites, principally in the UK, as well as in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. The firm’s shares are up about 6% year to date and it has a stock market value of about £207 million.

Macfarlane chair Aleen Gulvanessian said: “On presenting our 2023 results we indicated that the challenging market conditions experienced in the latter part of 2023 would continue into 2024 and this has been the case.

“We expect some improvement in trading conditions in the second half of 2024 and we have a clear plan of management actions to enable the Group to continue its progress.”