Revenue and profit leap for James Cropper

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

James Cropper has achieved a new revenue high in its year-end results and said it is entering the new financial year with a strong order book projection.

James Cropper: reached an all-time high for sales across the group
James Cropper: reached an all-time high for sales across the group

In its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 26 March 2022, the paper and advanced materials group recorded sales of £104.9m, up 33.1% year-on-year.

Sales at its Paper division jumped by 37% to £70.4m. Sales at its Technical Fibre Products (TFP) wing were up 27% at £31.2m, while the Colourform business grew sales by 19.2%, to £3.4m.

Adjusted operating profit excluding exceptionals and IAS 19 pension adjustment was £4.6m, up slightly from £4.5m the prior year. Its pre-tax profit figure was £2.8m (2021: £1.7m).

James Cropper said that despite its revenue growth, Paper was impacted by “substantial energy costs”. Its results showed an operating loss for the division of £2.3m, compared to an operating loss of £309,000 last year.

Meanwhile, the company’s investment expenditure doubled to £6.7m, to support its growth plans, while a new loan facility of £25m under UK Export Finance will support its sustainable strategic growth plans.

The year also saw several changes at board level. James Gravestock was appointed managing director of the TFP division and an executive director of the group, following the departure of Martin Thompson.

On the non-executive side of the board, senior independent director Andrew Hosty stepped down during the year while two new non-executive directors joined in November; Sarah Miles, CEO of Feelunique.com, and Martin Court, chief commercial officer of Victrex. In April this year, Court assumed the role of senior independent director.

James Cropper chairman Mark Cropper commented: “The green agenda represents a significant growth opportunity for all our divisions. Looking forward the outlook remains positive across the group. Our mantra since the earliest days of the Covid crisis has been to ‘emerge stronger’ and I am confident that this has truly been the case.”

Meanwhile, speaking to Printweek this morning (21 June) following the publication of the results, CEO Phil Wild said: “We’ve had strong demand and actually reached an all-time high for sales across the group, and that’s been across all three divisions. The main growth has come from our TFP division, which continues to drive all-time highs – we made an acquisition in hydrogen just over a year ago which has provided good tailwinds to the business as well.

“I think like a lot of high intensive energy companies, the energy cost has been a big concern and a big headwind to us through the year. The level of energy costs was just so dramatic, and we’ve now had to respond to that with price increases, which is not something that we take on very lightly but it’s absolutely necessary under the circumstances.

“It’s a very timely reminder about accelerating your decarbonisation plans – we have a very ambitious and aggressive plan to decarbonise the entire business by 2030 and that’s a staged approach between now and then.”

He added: “The other headline is that our Colourform business continues to grow very well with some super exciting new projects that have come out in both fragrances and alcohol – spirits and champagne.

“And I think the other key piece is the progress on our ESG agenda – we do take it seriously and have been for many years, and we’re taking it to another level, not just on reduction of carbon footprint but also on the work that we’re doing across the community, and in biodiversity, and raising our level of governance as well – no greenwashing, this is the real McCoy.”

James Cropper’s share price climbed by nearly 10% in early trading this morning to 1,070p but had settled down to 1,047.1p at the time of writing (52 week high: 1,650p, low: 950p).

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