On 27 September 2017, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc published its condensed interim financial statements for the six-month period ended 31 July 2017.
During the first six months of FY2017/18, the Group generated €49.2 million in revenues, representing a 7.5% increase over the previous comparable figure reflecting growth across all of Farsons’ business segments and increased awareness of market trends supported by positive macroeconomic factors. Revenue from ‘Brewing, production & sale of beer and branded beverages’ increased by 7.7% to €26.6 million – the major contributor to the Group’s growth in absolute terms. On the other hand, revenue from ‘Operation of franchised food retailing’ rose by 9.7% to €7.72 million whilst the ‘Importation, wholesale & retail of food and beverages’ segment registered a growth in revenues of 5.8% to €14.9 million.
Cost of sales edged 7% higher to €29.5 million – in line with the overall growth in business. Nonetheless, the gross profit still improved by 8.2% to €19.7 million. The gross profit margin exceeded the 40% mark for the first time to 40.1%.
Other operating expenses increased by 9.4% to €12.9 million leading to an operating profit of €6.84 million which is 6% higher than the previous comparable figure. The operating profit margin eased slightly to 13.9% from the record (at interim stage) of 14.1% as at 31 July 2016.
After accounting for net finance costs of €0.77 million (14% higher than the previous comparable period), the Group’s pre-tax profits amounted to a record of €6.07 million, representing a 5.1% increase over the previous comparable period. The tax expense amounted to €0.35 million leading to a net profit figure of €5.72 million compared to €5.54 million during the first six months of FY2016/17. This translates into an earnings per share of €0.1905 (H1 2016/17: €0.1845).
Looking ahead, the Directors noted that the Group’s business remains highly dependent on the prevailing positive macroeconomic conditions and strong tourism numbers. Furthermore, competition continuous to be intense, labour market conditions tight and environmental issues are a concern that still need to be addressed even on a national level. Nonetheless, the Group reiterated its commitment towards achieving further operational efficiencies (mainly through investments, innovation, cost-containment and the application of technology) as well as the further internationalisation of the Farsons brand through exports.
Farsons explained that its investments for new loading bays and the extension of warehousing facilities are nearing completion. Similarly, the investment in a new administrative office block has reached its final stages. Meanwhile, works on a new kegging plant have commenced and is expected to be commissioned by the end of this current financial year ending 31 January 2018.
Spin-Off of Trident Estates Limited
The Directors made reference to the Annual General Meeting held on 27 June 2017 during which shareholders approved the spin-off of Trident Estates Limited. Farsons stated that the necessary formalities for the transfer of the properties, the allotment of shares to existing Farsons shareholders, and the listing of the Trident Estates shares on the Malta Stock Exchange are all at an advanced stage and are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Farsons noted that the Planning Authority hearing to consider the approval of the planning application to develop the Trident Park along Mdina Road is set for 5 October 2017. In parallel, Farsons is also assessing the various tender submissions received in anticipation of the requisite planning permission.
The Directors declared an unchanged net interim dividend of €0.0333 per share to all shareholders as at close of trading on Monday 2 October 2017. The interim dividend will subsequently be paid on Wednesday 18 October 2017.