On 14 December 2020, PG plc published its half-yearly results covering the six-month period ended 31 October 2020.
During the period under review, total revenues increased by 4.8% to a record (at interim stage) of €60.9 million as the strong growth of 9.3% registered by the ‘Supermarkets & Associated Retail Operations’ to €52.1 million (H1 2019/20: €47.7 million) outweighed the 15.8% drop in turnover from the ‘Franchise Operations’ to €8.74 million (H1 2019/20: €10.4 million). In this respect, PG explained that the increase in sales generated by PAMA and PAVI reflect the continued popularity of both outlets among a growing clientele. On the other hand, the decline in business from the Zara and Zara Home segment was the result of the significant disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the aftermath of the temporary closure of these outlets from 23 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.
Operating costs increased by 5.9% to just under €53 million compared to €50 million in the previous corresponding period reflecting the various measures that PG put in place with a view of mitigating health risks as well as the increase in business in the ‘Supermarkets & Associated Retail Operations’. As the increase in costs outweighed the growth in revenues, the operating profit eased by 1.9% to €7.94 million. Moreover, the overall operating profit margin declined to 13% from 13.9% in H1 2019/20 reflecting the much lower contribution from the ‘Franchise Operations’.
Although net finance costs dropped by 12.3% to just over €0.7 million, pre-tax profits contracted by 1.9% to €7.19 million. After accounting for a tax charge of €2.05 million, PG’s net profit amounted to €5.14 million representing a drop of 3.1% from the €5.31 million figure reported during the previous comparable period.
The Statement of Financial Position as at 31 October 2020 when compared to the corresponding figures as at 30 April 2020 shows that total assets increased by 1.6% to €104.5 million whilst total liabilities contracted by 1.6% to €58.8 million. PG also noted that net debt dropped markedly to €9.4 million from €14.9 million as at the end of April 2020. Moreover, the company added that its liquidity position is such that it remains in a good position to pursue new growth opportunities in its core line of business. Meanwhile, total shareholder funds expanded by 5.4% to €45.7 million.
PG paid out an unchanged net interim dividend of €0.0185185 per share for the interim period under review. This represents a payout ratio of 38.9%.
In their commentary, the Directors explained that PG commenced the 2020/21 financial year with the expectation that the first six months would register a material shortfall in profitability, but that in the absence of a repeat lockdown, this shortfall in profitability would reverse itself in the second half of the financial year. The positive results for the first six months have exceeded the company’s expectations and, in fact, in spite of the continued negative impact of the pandemic on the company’s franchise operations, PG had largely recouped the negative impact of the lockdown experience earlier in the year. The Directors are now therefore cautiously optimistic that the company’s results for the full year will not be inferior to those registered in the 2019/20 financial year.
PG noted that it continues to invest in the enhancement of its two supermarket complexes, as well as in the upgrading of the associated facilities and shops. Notwithstanding the severe disruption, more clients are shopping from PAMA and PAVI, and the Zara and Zara Home outlets are also experiencing encouraging results.
Meanwhile, work continues on the upgrading of the company’s core supermarket IT system and by mid-2021, PG expects to be in a position to offer its clients an enhanced customer experience.
The Directors concluded by stating that PG is in a healthy financial position with very limited bank borrowings for its level of business. Accordingly, the company is in a good position to explore new opportunities to develop further its operations and enhance shareholder value. The company is actively exploring and negotiating a number of new ventures and these will be disclosed when concluded.