Macfarlane Group ahead of last year in trading update

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Packaging giant Macfarlane Group has reported sales in the first quarter 15% ahead of the same period in 2020.

Macfarlane Group has completed two acquisitions so far this year
Macfarlane Group has completed two acquisitions so far this year

In the company’s Annual General Meeting trading update, which covers 2021 to date, the Glasgow-headquartered firm also said group profit for the year to date was “well ahead of that achieved in 2020”.

At the AGM in Glasgow today, chairman Stuart Paterson will say: “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.”

Wiltshire-based protective packaging manufacturing and distribution business GWP was acquired in March and last month the business followed this with the acquisition of protective packaging distributor Carters Packaging (Cornwall).

Macfarlane said both businesses are “progressing well post-acquisition”. Following these acquisitions, the firm’s net debt has increased to £6m, from £0.5m on 31 December 2020. The group said this remains well within its bank facilities of £30m which are committed until December 2025.

The business added Covid-19, supply shortages, and raw material price increases will continue to have an impact on the markets it serves for the remainder of 2021. However, it is confident that 2021 “will be another year of good progress for Macfarlane Group”.

Macfarlane has also announced today that Andrea Dunstan has advised the company that she will step down from its board at the end of her three-year term on 1 September 2021. The board has commenced a search process for her replacement as a non-executive director and chair of the remuneration committee.

The group employs around 1,025 staff. In its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2020, the business recorded turnover of £230m, up 2.1% on the £225.2m it achieved in 2019, while its pre-tax profit was £13m, up 9.6% on its 2019 figure of £11.9m.

Other recent acquisitions made by the group have included Ecopac and Leyland Packaging in 2019 and Armagrip in January 2020.

Macfarlane’s share price stood at 118p at the time of writing today (11 May), flat on yesterday’s close but up from the 112.74p it had dipped to this morning prior to the release of the trading update at midday.


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