"A strong performance in the year with growth on track"
Carr's (CARR.L), the Agriculture and Engineering Group, announces its results for the year ended 31 August 2019.
|Adjusted1 operating profit (£m)||18.9||17.5||+8.4%|
|Adjusted1 profit before tax (£m)||18.0||16.6||+9.0%|
|Adjusted1 EPS (p)||14.6||13.9||+5.0%|
|Operating profit (£m)||17.2||16.4||+4.8%|
|Profit before tax (£m)||16.3||15.5||+5.2%|
|Basic EPS (p)||13.1||13.0||+0.8%|
|Dividend per share (p)||4.75||4.5||+5.6%|
|Net debt (£m)||23.8||15.4||+54.5%|
 Adjusted results are after adding back amortisation of acquired intangible assets and non-recurring items including acquisition costs (note 3)
Chris Holmes, Chairman of Carr's Group, commented:
"We are pleased to have delivered a strong financial performance in the year, moderately ahead of the Board's expectations, despite unseasonable weather significantly impacting trading across our Agriculture division.
"We also made good strategic progress during the year, including acquisitions across both divisions where integration is progressing well. In Agriculture, we are excited by plans to develop Animax, acquired in September 2018, into a centre of excellence for innovation and product development for the wider Agriculture division.
"Our Engineering division delivered a strong performance, building on momentum in the prior year. We believe the newly established structure of our Engineering division will position us better for sustainable growth, enabling closer collaboration between businesses and better business development.
"I am confident, as I step down from the role of Chairman at the AGM in January, that I leave the Company in an excellent position to build upon on its strong market positions and capabilities, expand its international footprint and deliver sustained growth."
Review of the year
For the year ended 31 August 2019, the Group delivered a financial performance moderately ahead of the Board's expectations.
The period saw further investment across both our Agriculture and Engineering divisions to enhance our capabilities and position the Group for further growth. This investment was complemented by acquisitions made in each division, and the successful implementation of measures designed to improve efficiencies across our businesses.
Our Agriculture division performed well in challenging market conditions. Unseasonable mild and dry weather during winter and spring impacted sales volumes in the UK and across Europe, which was in stark contrast to the colder weather experienced during the spring of 2018. Consistent wet weather in the USA also reduced demand for feed blocks, impacting sales volumes. Despite the challenging weather conditions, its impact on profitability was substantially mitigated through various cost savings, including lower central costs, together with better procurement and manufacturing efficiencies which, combined with the contribution from Animax, acquired in September 2018, enabled the division to report increased profits. We were also able to make good progress strengthening our research and development capabilities, particularly through our new facilities at Animax.
Our Engineering division delivered another strong performance, building on the momentum of the previous year. Towards the end of the year, we brought together our existing and recently acquired businesses through the establishment of a new divisional structure comprising Global Robotics, Global Technical Services and UK Service and Manufacturing (replacing our Remote Handling, USA Engineering and UK Manufacturing businesses respectively). The new structure is designed to realise synergies, improve efficiencies and better align our products and services with the markets in which we operate.
In June 2019, we acquired NW Total, a service and manufacturing company providing value-adding solutions to the nuclear defence, nuclear decommissioning, nuclear power generation and other highly regulated markets, for a total cash consideration of up to £9.6 million. The acquisition enhances our offering and provides significant opportunities, particularly in the nuclear defence market.
We will continue to assess acquisition opportunities across both of our divisions, which align to our strategy.
Revenue for the year increased by 0.2% to £403.9m (2018: £403.2m). Adjusted operating profit, which is before amortisation of acquired intangible assets and non-recurring items, was up 8.4% to £18.9m (2018: £17.5m), with
Agriculture contributing £13.6m (2018: £13.4m) and Engineering £5.3m (2018: £4.1m). Reported operating profit was up 4.8% to £17.2m (2018: £16.4m). Non-recurring items include past service costs relating
to pensions GMP equalisation totalling £1.1m, amortisation of acquired intangible assets totalling £0.8m, acquisition related costs totalling £0.5m, and restructuring costs totalling £0.4m. These were offset by adjustments
to contingent consideration totalling £1.1m, giving a net total of £1.7m.
Adjusted profit before tax was up 9.0% to £18.0m (2018: £16.6m) and reported profit before tax was up 5.2% at £16.3m (2018: £15.5m). Basic earnings per share were up by 0.8% to 13.1p (2018: £13.0p), with fully diluted earnings per share of 12.8p (2018: 12.7p) and adjusted earnings per share, excluding amortisation of acquired intangible assets and non-recurring items, up 5.0% to 14.6p (2018: 13.9p).
Net debt at 31 August 2019 was £23.8m (2018: £15.4m). Net debt has increased by £12.0m in relation to the acquisition of Animax and NW Total, which was offset by a small cash inflow of £3.6m for the Group.
The Board is proposing a final dividend of 2.5p per ordinary share, which together with the two interim dividends of 1.125p per ordinary share paid on 31 May 2019 and 4 October 2019, make a total of 4.75p per share for the year (2018: 4.5p). The final dividend, if approved by the Shareholders, will be paid on 10 January 2020, to Shareholders on the register on close of business 29 November 2019, and the shares will go ex-dividend on 28 November 2019.
During the year we continued to review our governance framework in the light of the new Corporate Governance Code 2018, which has applied to the Company from 1 September 2019. In readiness for this, we took the decision that I would stand down from the Board, which was announced in December 2018. We have also reviewed our remuneration policies to ensure that these remain in accordance with best practice and taken steps to enhance how we engage with stakeholders and employees. As a result, we are confident that we should be fully aligned with the requirements of the new Code. As a Group, we remain committed to a robust and transparent governance framework, which promotes the interests of our stakeholders.
This is my last set of financial results as Chairman of the Group. It has been an honour and a privilege to work for Carr's, first as Managing Director of the Agriculture business, then as CEO of the Group, and for the last six years to serve as Chairman. As announced on 9 October 2019, following a comprehensive search process led by Senior Independent Director John Worby, Peter Page will take over the role of Chairman following our AGM in January 2020. I am confident Peter is an ideal candidate to take over as Chairman and I wish him and the executive management team the very best for the future. I know that under their leadership Carr's will continue to go from strength to strength.
The Group remains committed to delivering on its strategic objectives of investing in its people and its asset base, whilst continuing to drive innovation and expand the Group's geographic footprint, delivering growth across both divisions.
We remain confident in the prospects of the Agriculture division in the medium term and continue to plan for Brexit with our customers, suppliers and trading partners. In the UK, farmer confidence is becoming increasingly impacted by uncertainty around Brexit, in particular the future trade arrangements the UK will have with the EU and the rest of the world. In the USA, while the wet weather conditions this year impacted sales volumes, an emergence from longstanding drought across large agricultural regions should be beneficial for feed block sales in the medium term. We are pleased with the progress made with the integration of Animax since its acquisition in September 2018 and are working towards establishing the business as a centre of excellence for innovation and product development across the division. We will continue to invest in the development of our international supplements business delivering research based value-enhancing products to farmers globally.
In our Engineering division, order books remain strong supported by improved efficiencies and a strengthened management team. This, combined with the strategic progress during the year, provides confidence in the medium term. Due to contract phasing we expect reduced activity in Global Technical Services in the coming year, but confidence in the business is unaffected due to its strong order book. We anticipate an improved performance in Global Robotics this year, against reduced activity levels last year. The acquisition of NW Total also provides new opportunities for the division, particularly in the nuclear defence market. Our strategy for the division continues to be the development of IP-rich businesses delivering high value solutions into regulated markets, supplemented by acquisitions where appropriate.
Trading in the new financial year has started in line with the Board's expectations in Agriculture. In Engineering, we have had a slower start than expected due to contract phasing, however, order books are strong and we remain confident in the full year outlook. Whilst we are fully aware of the challenges in our global markets, investments in people, facilities and new product development, supported by our strategic acquisitions, position the Group well for sustained future growth.
Finally, on behalf of the Board I would like to thank our colleagues across the Group who, alongside our strategic partners and other supporting stakeholders, have been instrumental in helping to deliver another strong performance.
Chris Holmes DL
Our financial performance for the year was moderately ahead of our expectations. We have made significant progress against our strategic objectives, investing both in our facilities and in our research and development capabilities, as well as through acquisitions.
During the year we acquired Animax, expanding our Supplements business, and NW Total, which provides new opportunities, particularly in the nuclear defence markets. Both businesses align with our strategy to grow internationally in high value, growing market sectors. We continue to identify suitable value-enhancing acquisitions, which complement our existing operations and enable us to invest in technology and innovation.
In the context of a particularly challenging market driven by unseasonal weather, in marked contrast to the previous year, and uncertainty created by Brexit, our Agriculture division has delivered a robust performance.
During the year, revenue was down 0.6% to £357.4m (2018: £359.6m). Adjusted operating profit was up 1.6% to £13.6m (2018: £13.4m) and reported operating profit was down 0.8% to £12.9m (2018: £13.0m). This included the contribution from Animax of £0.6m to adjusted operating profit in its first year of trading.
Total global feed block sales volumes were down 6.4% compared to last year.
Following a strong first quarter for our USA feed block business, short-term adverse weather conditions impacted sales volumes during the year. Consistently wet weather conditions resulted in plentiful supplies of forage during the year and more conservative purchasing of supplements by farmers. As a result, volumes including joint ventures were down 2.5% on the prior year. In the medium-term, we expect the widespread reduction in drought to result in more land being available for livestock grazing, which provides an opportunity for us to increase feed block volumes in the USA.
The impact from adverse weather conditions on profitability in the USA during the year was offset by two factors. Firstly, our low moisture feed block plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee delivered a strong performance during its first full year of operation with volumes continuing to grow. This facility has enabled us to expand our geographic footprint and increase our sales to customers across the eastern and south eastern states of the USA. Secondly, we have driven further efficiencies across the USA business, improved procurement processes and made significant improvements in manufacturing efficiencies and quality control.
During the period we increased our presence in the Canadian market, establishing relationships with key distribution partners, expanding our sales team and completing key product registrations. This market can be serviced out of our existing facility in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
UK feed blocks sales volumes were down 16.4% compared to the prior year, due to unseasonably mild and dry weather experienced during the period in marked contrast to the same period last year. Despite the challenging market conditions, we were able to mitigate the financial impact of these factors through improved efficiencies, strict control of operating costs, including lower central costs, and better procurement.
Feed block sales in our joint venture business based in Germany, Crystalyx Products GmbH, were impacted by similar weather conditions to the UK, with volumes down 8.0% compared to the prior year. During the period we made further progress on our Pickblock plant in Oldenburg, Germany, which will be fully operational in calendar year 2020. This facility produces products which improve poultry welfare standards through environmental enrichment, encouraging birds to demonstrate a wider range of natural behaviours.
Our plans to grow our feed block business internationally continue to progress with emphasis on Europe, New Zealand and North America where we see the greatest potential for growth.
We have made significant strategic progress since acquiring Animax Limited, a manufacturer of trace element supplements for livestock, in September 2018. As part of the ongoing integration of the business, we have strengthened the management team, increased focus on new business development and enhanced production efficiencies. A key rationale for the acquisition was to bring Animax's research and development facility into the Group. Through continued integration, this facility will become a centre of excellence in research and development for the Group's Supplements business.
Volumes in our feed and fuel businesses declined during the period as a result of the very mild weather reducing demand. Consequently, total compound feed volumes decreased by 10.0%, against a strong comparative period last year. Similarly, volumes in our fuel distribution business were down 6.2% on last year. Effective procurement and good forward positions on raw materials has helped to mitigate the negative impact on profitability of the weather.
Despite the unseasonal weather our network of rural stores reported a 0.9% increase in overall sales during the year, with like-for-like sales increasing 2.1% owing to store rationalisation following the acquisition of Pearson Farm Supplies in October 2017. In July 2019, we acquired Cumbria based Paul Chuter Agricultural Services Ltd, a regional supplier of all-terrain vehicles, which has increased the range of specialist machinery available to our core farming customers. The business has been integrated into our country store at Cockermouth, Cumbria, to maximise footfall and levels of customer service.
Machinery revenues overall were down 2.8% against a record performance last year. New machinery sales were, however, down 4.6% as ongoing Brexit negotiations continued to impact farmer confidence.
As part of the Group's orderly succession planning, we appointed a new Managing Director for the UK Agriculture business.
We remain confident in the medium-term prospects of the UK Agriculture business. In the short-term we continue to prepare for Brexit given the ongoing uncertainty, which is increasingly impacting farmer confidence and delaying new investment decisions.
In the USA, following a period of sustained drought, we expect the wetter weather this year to provide a positive impact, as significant areas in the USA become more capable of supporting livestock grazing which is the primary method of nutrition supported by our range of supplementation products.
We remain committed to developing our global supplements business, which has been supported by our acquisition of Animax. The acquisition has enhanced our range of value-adding products which can be distributed internationally, has improved our ability to innovate and develop new products, and is enabling us to realise synergies in our wider Agriculture division.
We continue to consider acquisition opportunities which align with our strategy.
The Engineering division has seen another strong financial performance during the year. This has been achieved alongside the delivery of strategic objectives and supported by a new organisational structure under the leadership of the divisional Managing Director. The new structure better aligns the division with our customers and the markets in which we operate, and the creation of a central divisional management team brings closer collaboration and improved business development.
During the year, revenue was up 6.7% to £46.5m (2018: £43.6m). Adjusted operating profit was up 30.6% to £5.3m (2018: £4.1m) and reported operating profit was up 49.4% to £5.1m (2018: £3.4m). This was led by improved performances in UK Service and Manufacturing and Global Technical Services offset by a weaker performance in Global Robotics.
UK Service and Manufacturing
Our UK Service and Manufacturing business performed well during the year, generating revenues of £23.0m (2018: £18.4m).
The business was able to successfully deliver a range of projects into the nuclear market, including the significant contract announced in July 2017 which is now nearing completion. We also delivered a strong performance in oil and gas markets, building on momentum established last year. The new management team has overseen significant improvements in business development, resulting in a more effective approach to tender opportunities, an increased conversion rate and a strengthened order book.
In June 2019 we acquired NW Total Engineered Solutions Limited, a service and manufacturing company providing value added solutions to the nuclear defence, nuclear decommissioning, nuclear power generation and other highly regulated markets. Integration has commenced, and the business has performed well in its initial period of ownership. The acquisition comes at a time of significant opportunity in nuclear defence, such as the £31 billion UK Dreadnought submarine programme which is expected to continue into the longer term.
As anticipated, our Global Robotics business experienced lower levels of activity during the year due to project phasing, delivering revenues for the financial year totalling £14.4m (2018: £19.5m). The order book has improved, as expected, during the year and we continue to have confidence in the medium term. The year was also one of strategic progress, securing a number of contracts to supply robotics equipment into the USA including a major project to supply $8.5m of equipment. Part of the strategic rationale for the acquisition of NuVision was to lever its strong foothold in the USA nuclear sector.
Establishing a Global Robotics business, incorporating all of the remote handling and robotics equipment previously supplied by CarrsMSM, Wälischmiller, and NuVision, has allowed us to bring together IP and knowhow from across the Group, positioning the business for further product development and global growth.
As previously reported, the level of global opportunities, particularly in the USA, Europe and Japan, is increasing which provides confidence in both the short and longer term for this division.
Global Technical Services
Our Global Technical Services business had a very strong year, generating revenues of £9.1m (2018: £5.7m).
This business has a very strong order book and opportunity pipeline, following the award of a number of previously announced contracts, including two significant Mechanical Stress Improvement Process (MSIP®) contracts, which will mainly benefit the 2020/21 financial year.
Following the award of significant funding from the US Department of Energy to develop our passive cooling technology, work has commenced on this project and is progressing well. This technology has the potential to be retrofitted on existing nuclear power plants in order to improve safety.
We remain confident in the prospects for the Engineering division. Our UK Service and Manufacturing business continues to perform well, and order books remain strong. The acquisition of NW Total enhances the range of specialist services we offer and provides good opportunities in the nuclear defence market.
Following the award of a number of contracts in the USA, the order book in our Global Robotics business has strengthened and we expect an improved performance in the current financial year. We also see global opportunities, particularly in Europe and Japan, over the short to medium term, supporting our confidence in this business.
Following a very strong year for our Global Technical Services business, with the award of two significant MSIP® contracts, we expect a reduced performance in the coming year owing to the phasing of these multi-year projects. However, in the medium term, the business has a strong order book.
Our reorganised divisional structure provides a better combined offering which is more closely aligned to our customers and the markets in which we operate, and the division is well placed for further growth. We also continue to consider acquisition opportunities that are strategically aligned.
Chief Executive Officer
11 November 2019
|Cost of sales||(349,798)||(349,864)|
|Adjusted2 share of post-tax results of associates|
|Share of post-tax results of associates||
|Share of post-tax results of joint ventures||1,453||1,581|
|Adjusted2 operating profit||18,930||17,464|
|Amortisation of acquired intangible assets and non-recurring items||3||(1,735)||(1,059)|
|Adjusted2 profit before taxation||18,044||16,561|
|Amortisation of acquired intangible assets and non-recurring items||3||(1,735)||(1,059)|
|Profit before taxation||2||16,309||15,502|
|Profit for the year||13,624||13,647|
|Profit attributable to:|
|Earnings per ordinary share (pence)|
2 Adjusted results are after adding back amortisation of acquired intangible assets and non-recurring items including acquisition costs (note 3)
|Profit for the year||13,624||13,647|
|Other comprehensive income/(expense)|
|Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:|
|Foreign exchange translation gains/(losses) arising on translation of overseas subsidiaries||1,857||(505)|
Net investment hedges
Taxation charge on net investment hedges
|Items that will not be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:|
|- Actuarial (losses)/gains on retirement benefit asset:|
- Share of associate
Taxation credit/(charge) on actuarial (losses)/gains on retirement benefit asset:
|Other comprehensive income for the year, net of tax||283||4,590|
|Total comprehensive income for the year||13,907||18,237|
|Total comprehensive income attributable to:|
|Other intangible assets||9,318||2,223|
|Property, plant and equipment||41,917||38,484|
|Investment in associate||13,392||13,129|
|Interest in joint ventures||9,671||8,004|
|- Non-current receivables||22||21|
|Retirement benefit asset||7,769||10,146|
|Deferred tax asset||410||-|
|Trade and other receivables||56,349||67,516|
|Current tax assets||-||119|
|- Derivative financial instruments||-||26|
|- Cash and cash equivalents||28,649||24,632|
|Trade and other payables||(62,653)||(64,290)|
|Current tax liabilities||(1,010)||(175)|
|Deferred tax liabilities||(4,987)||(3,981)|
|Other non-current liabilities||(2,999)||(1,784)|
|Total shareholders’ equity||114,250||105,281|
|Treasury Share Reserve|
|At 3 September|
|Profit for the|
|Other comprehensive (expense)/income||-||-||-||-||(415)||-||5,005||4,590||-||4,590|
|Total comprehensive (expense)/income||-||-||-||-||(415)||-||16,897||16,482||1,755||18,237|
|Equity-settled share-based payment transactions||-||-||-||1,041||-||-||8||1,049||76||1,125|
|Excess deferred taxation on share based payments||-||-||-||-||-||-||27||27||1||28|
|Allotment of shares||-||11||-||-||-||-||-||11||-||11|
|At 1 September 2018||2,285||9,141||-||1,427||4,259||202||87,967||105,281||15,685||120,966|
|As previously reported at 1 September|
|Effect of IFRS15 adoption||-||-||-||-||-||-||(124)||(124)||-||(124)|
|At 2 September 2018 (restated)||2,285||9,141||-||1,427||4,259||202||87,843||105,157||15,685||120,842|
|Profit for the|
|Other comprehensive income/(expense)||-||-||-||-||1,887||-||(1,604)||283||-||283|
|Total comprehensive income/(expense)||-||-||-||-||1,887||-||10,445||12,332||1,575||13,907|
|Equity-settled share-based payment transactions||-||-||-||53||-||-||759||812||68||880|
|Allotment of shares||14||24||-||-||-||-||-||38||-||38|
|Purchase of own shares held in trust||-||-||(13)||-||-||-||-||(13)||-||(13)|
|Reclassified from liabilities||-||-||-||97||-||-||-||97||-||97|
|At 31 August|
|Cash flows from operating activities|
|Cash generated from continuing operations||6||16,004||14,980|
|Net cash generated from operating activities||12,600||11,485|
|Cash flows from investing activities|
|Acquisition of subsidiaries (net of overdraft/cash acquired)||(9,868)||(1,522)|
|Contingent/deferred consideration paid||(379)||(2,617)|
|Net costs of disposal of associate||-||(90)|
|Dividend received from associate and joint ventures||711||704|
|Loan repaid by associate||-||1,008|
|Purchase of intangible assets||(1,310)||(325)|
|Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment||831||189|
|Purchase of property, plant and equipment||(4,471)||(4,488)|
|Purchase of own shares held in trust||(13)||-|
|Redemption of preference shares in joint venture||-||20|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(14,420)||(7,062)|
|Cash flows from financing activities|
|Proceeds from issue of ordinary share capital|
New bank loans and movement on RCF
|Finance lease principal repayments||(1,278)||(997)|
|Repayment of borrowings||(2,493)||(3,241)|
|(Decrease)/increase in other borrowings||(1,352)||8,934|
|Dividends paid to shareholders||(4,173)||(3,770)|
|Dividends paid to related party||(588)||(588)|
|Net cash generated from/(used in) financing activities||4,584||(1,727)|
|Effect of exchange rate changes||526||(305)|
|Net increase in cash and cash equivalents||3,290||2,391|
|Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of the year||21,005||18,614|
|Cash and cash equivalents at end of the year||24,295||21,005|