Carr's (CARR.L), the Agriculture and Engineering Group, is issuing a trading update to coincide with its Annual General Meeting being held in Carlisle today at 11.30 a.m. This update relates to the 18-week period ended 6 January 2018. Overall, Carr's is trading in line with the Board's expectations for the current financial year and significantly ahead of the prior year in both Agriculture and Engineering.
UK Agriculture has begun the year positively, with improved farm incomes continuing to reinforce farmer confidence. Our retail business has had a strong start to the financial year and manufactured feed volumes are ahead of the same period in the prior year. Fuel volumes are lower due to milder weather and wet ground conditions affecting agricultural operations during the early part of the winter. As envisaged, machinery sales remain strong and continue to reflect positive farmer sentiment on the prospects for UK agriculture. UK feed block sales also continue to be strong.
US feed block sales volumes continue to recover as discussed in our FY17 full year results announcement on 13 November 2017, as cattle prices for producers continue to improve. The new low moisture feed block plant at Shelbyville, Tennessee, is now fully commissioned and in production.
Our UK Manufacturing business is trading well ahead of the prior year benefiting from improved levels of activity. Work continues on the significant contract announced on 20 July 2017 and the order book for the business remains strong.
Our remote handling businesses are also performing well. The full integration of STABER GmbH and the extension of the Group's premises at Markdorf, Germany which are expected to complete during 2018 will provide additional capacity to support the ongoing growth of the business.
The integration of NuVision, the technology and engineering solutions business focused on nuclear markets, is progressing as planned. The Group remains enthusiastic about the opportunity to market Wälischmiller remote handling equipment in the USA as a result of the acquisition.
The Group's financial position remains strong. Net debt as at 2 December 2017 was £19.0m compared to net debt of £14.1m as at 2 September 2017.
Management continue to review suitable acquisition opportunities whilst investing in the Group's existing businesses both in the UK and overseas.
Subject to shareholder approval at today's AGM, the proposed final dividend of 2.1 pence per share for the year ended 2 September 2017 will be paid on 12 January 2018 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 15 December 2017.
Tim Davies, Chief Executive, commented:
"We are pleased with how FY18 has commenced. We are seeing the continued recovery across both divisions and the investments we have made in acquisitions and research will continue to act as a solid foundation for ongoing growth."
The Company expects to issue its interim results for the 26-week period ending 3 March 2018 on 16 April 2018.
|Carr's Group plc
Tim Davies (Chief Executive)
Neil Austin (Group Finance Director)
|Tel: +44 (0) 1228 554 600|
Nick Dibden / Lisa Kavanagh / Sam Austrums
|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 50 countries around the world.
Its Agriculture division manufactures and supplies feed blocks for livestock, farm machinery 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 for use in the nuclear, petrochemical, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, process and renewable energy industries, including robotic and remote handling equipment.