'Good progress' expected

Macfarlane remains alert to acquisition opportunities

Stuart PatersonStuart Paterson, chairman of Glasgow packaging company Macfarlane Group, will tell shareholders today that it continues to seek out acquisitions and looks ahead to “another year of progress”.

The company last week acquired Buckinghamshire-based distribution business Ecopac (UK) in a £3.9 million deal. The acquisition was in line with Macfarlane’s declared strategy of building the business through a combination of organic and acquisitive growth.

Macfarlane reported a 20% rise in profit before tax and exceptional items for the last 12 months. Today shareholders will be asked to approve a final dividend of 1.65p per share, amounting to a full year dividend of 2.3p per share, a 10% increase on the prior year’s dividend of 2.1p per share. The dividend will be paid on 6 June to those shareholders on the register on 17 May.

Addressing the annual general meeting, Mr Paterson, pictured, will say: “Group profit for the year to date is ahead of that achieved in 2018 and, recognising the usual seasonal uplift in the second half of the year, the Board is confident that Macfarlane will perform in line with its expectations for 2019.

“Sales have grown by 7% compared to the same period in 2018.  Our Packaging Distribution business has grown sales by 6% compared to 2018.  This comprises 3% organic sales growth and 3% sales growth attributable to the two acquisitions in 2018, which continue to perform well.  Sales in our Manufacturing Operations are 15% above the equivalent period in 2018.

“A key component of our strategy is the acquisition of good-quality packaging distribution businesses.  At the end of April, we were pleased to complete the acquisition of Ecopac (UK) Limited, a packaging distributor based near Aylesbury with annual sales of £6m.

“Prior to completing the acquisition referred to above, net debt had reduced from the 31 December 2018 level.  The Group’s committed bank facilities of £30m remain available until June 2022 and the Group continues to operate well within these facilities.

“2019 has started positively and we shall maintain our focus on growing organically in our target markets, supplemented by the acquisition of good quality packaging businesses.  We are confident that 2019 will be another year of good progress for Macfarlane Group.”


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