On 19 September 2018, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc published its condensed interim financial statements for the six-month period ended 31 July 2018.
During the first half of the 2018/19 financial year, Farsons generated record revenues of €51.2 million, representing a 4.1% increase over the previous comparable figure and reflecting growth across all of the Group’s business segments. Revenue from ‘Brewing, production & sale of beer and branded beverages’ increased by 3.6% to €27.5 million – the major contributor to the Group’s growth in revenue in absolute terms. Similarly, revenues from ‘Operation of franchised food retailing’ rose by 3.5% to €7.98 million whilst the ‘Importation, wholesale & retail of food and beverages’ segment registered a growth of 5.5% to €15.7 million.
Given the increased level of business, cost of sales edged 2.2% higher to €30.2 million whilst operating expenses surged by 7.8% to €13.9 million. Despite the overall increase in overheads, the operating margin still improved to 14.1% from 13.9% in the previous comparable period.
After accounting for net finance costs of €0.64 million (H1 2017/18: €0.77 million), the Group’s pre-tax profits amounted to €6.57 million, representing an 8.3% increase over the previous comparable period. The tax expense amounted to €0.46 million leading to a net profit figure of €6.11 million compared to €5.72 million during the first six months of FY2017/18. This translates into an earnings per share of €0.2036 (H1 2017/18: €0.1905) and an annualised return on equity of 10.8% (H1 2017/18: 9.7%).
In their commentary, the Directors of Farsons noted that the Group achieved yet another record set of financial results despite the growing competitive pressures in all of its business sectors. Furthermore, Farsons warned that the upcoming introduction of the Beverage Container Refund Scheme (“BCRS”) towards the end of 2019 represents a challenge for the entire local beverage industry. In this respect, Farsons explained that it is in active discussions with all interested parties in order to better understand and manage the introduction of the BCRS.
Meanwhile, the Directors reiterated the Group’s vision of internationalising its business and expressed their cautious optimism towards tapping further growth potential in existing and new markets. Nonetheless, the Directors also noted that although the financial results for the six-month period ended 31 July 2018 are indeed encouraging, Farsons remains focused on continuing to deliver growth although maintaining growth at recent levels will be challenging given the competitive environment in which the Group operates.
Following the commissioning of a new state-of-the-art kegging plant and the extension of the logistics centre earlier on this year, Farsons explained that it will continue to invest in its production capabilities in order to ensure excellence in its performance as well as enhance its competitive position through further product innovation. In this respect, Farsons noted that the transformation of the Old Brewhouse into a visitor’s attraction centre (complemented with food and beverage outlets) as well as the creation of a micro-brewery are in their final stages of evaluation and expected to commence in the next few months.
The Directors declared an unchanged net interim dividend of €0.0333 per share to all shareholders as at close of trading on Monday 24 September 2018. The interim dividend will subsequently be paid on Wednesday 10 October 2018.