CARR'S GROUP PLC ("Carr's" or the "Group")
Carr's (CARR.L), the Agriculture and Engineering Group, provides a trading update to coincide with its Annual General Meeting being held in Carlisle today at 11:30am. This update relates to the 20-week period ended 15 January 2022.
Update on trading and outlook
The Group made a positive start to the year with overall performance during the period broadly in line with the Board's expectations.
Speciality Agriculture traded in line with expectations during the period with sales volumes ahead of the prior year, although margins were impacted by raw material price increases. Strong livestock prices are expected to underpin demand for the remainder of the financial year.
Overall trading in our Agricultural Supplies division is on track, where a strong performance from our machinery business helped to offset the impact of raw material price volatility and a reduction in fuel volumes owing to milder weather.
Engineering traded behind the Board's expectations in the period, but significantly ahead of the prior year driven by a strong performance in Fabrication and Precision Engineering and an improved performance in Remote Handling and Robotics. Order books across the division remain strong.
Net debt at 25 December 2021 was £27.9m (£19.0m at 26 December 2020). The change results from an increase in working capital across all divisions including timing delays in the collection of cash following the implementation of a new ERP system in our Agricultural Supplies business.
The Board is confident in the long-term prospects of the Group, and its performance expectations for the full year remain unchanged.
Review of strategic options
The Group's portfolio is managed in three divisions, with financial performance reported accordingly. Each division has a strong market position and considerable potential for growth although, operating in different markets, the Board recognises that there are limited opportunities to benefit from synergies.
The Board has therefore decided to conduct a review of its strategic options across all three divisions, which will include input from external advisers. The Board will update investors at the time of the Group's interim results in April 2022.
As previously announced, upon conclusion of today's AGM, Alistair Wannop and Kristen Eshak Weldon will stand down from the Board. The Board is grateful for the contributions made by Alistair and Kristen and is actively recruiting for an independent Non-Executive Director. A process is also underway in relation to the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer, which will be concluded as soon as possible.
Subject to shareholder approval at today's AGM, the proposed final dividend of 2.65 pence per share for the year ended 28 August 2021 will be paid on 26 January 2022 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 17 December 2021. The ex-dividend date was 16 December 2021.
The Company expects to announce its interim results for the 26-week period ending 26 February 2022 on 20 April 2022.
Carr's Group plc
Neil Austin (Chief Financial Officer)
Tel: +44 (0) 1228 554 600
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7250 1446
About Carr's Group plc:
Carr's is an international leader in manufacturing value added products and solutions, with market leading brands and robust market positions in Agriculture and Engineering, supplying customers in over 50 countries around the world. Carr's operates a decentralised business model that empowers operating subsidiaries enabling them to be competitive, agile, and effective in their individual markets whilst setting overall standards and goals.
Its Speciality Agriculture division manufactures and supplies feed blocks, minerals and boluses containing trace elements and minerals for livestock.
Its Agricultural Supplies division manufactures compound animal feed, distributes farm machinery and fuels, and runs a UK network of rural stores, providing a one-stop shop for the farming community.
Its Engineering division designs and manufactures bespoke equipment, including robotic and remote handling equipment, and provides technical services primarily into nuclear, oil and gas, and defence industries.