14 January 2014
Carr's (CRM.L), the agriculture, food and engineering group, is issuing its first interim management statement for the year to 30 August 2014, to coincide with its Annual General Meeting being held in Carlisle at 11.30am today.
This statement relates to the 19 week period which ended on 11 January 2014.
Carr's continues to trade in line with the Board's expectations for the full year.
Feed blocks have continued to perform well during the period with increased demand in the USA as a result of the severe weather conditions offset by a softening in demand in the UK, following prolonged mild weather. As flagged in the Group's preliminary results for the year ended 30 August 2013, the Group is further investigating the possibility of expanding in the New Zealand and South American markets.
AminoMax®, the patented rumen bypass protein for dairy cattle, has had a positive start to the year. In the UK, the launch of the new plant at Lancaster has led to a significant expansion in our progressive dairy farm customer base. In the USA, the expanded AminoMax® plant is operational and satisfying increasing customer demand.
The expansion of the building for the CHS joint venture for the production of patented low moisture feed block products in Sioux City, USA is underway. Production is expected to commence in June 2014.
The planned refurbishment and expansion of our Carlisle Country Store has continued to reap the expected benefits and our on-going development programme for the Malton, Bakewell and Skipton stores remains on track. Construction of a new Country Store at Annan has commenced and is anticipated to complete in summer 2014.
The Food division is trading ahead of last year's performance and in line with our expectations.
Following the strategic investment, our new mill at Kirkcaldy is now fully operational and we are beginning to see the financial benefits linked to the improved operational efficiencies as well as commercial benefits from having a state-of-the-art-mill in a prime location.
The quality of the 2013 UK wheat harvest is significantly better than the prior year's poor harvest. The portside location of our two Northern mills remains important to us as we continue to ship both home grown and Continental wheat direct to Kirkcaldy and Silloth.
Total sales volumes across the three mills are ahead of last year and we are optimistic about future opportunities.
Our Engineering division continues to perform well with our innovative product offering and on-going investment in developing new technologies proving beneficial. The final phase of expansion at Wälischmiller is complete and the production area is now in the last stages of relocating to the new facility.
Wälischmiller has won a contract to supply six A200's, our remote handling equipment, for ITD USA Inc, market leaders of nuclear technical equipment and installation. This is the first contract win for Wälischmiller in the USA. Elsewhere, attendance at the international robotic conference in Japan was successful with significant interest registered in the V1000, our fully remote-controlled handling vehicle.
MSM has had a strong start to the year, with performance exceeding our expectations. Bendalls have been awarded an anticipated contract for the production and supply of 27 pressure vessels, for the oil and gas industry, with delivery due through to 2015.
The Group's financial position remains strong. Net Debt as at 30 November 2013 was £28.2 million compared to £22.1 million as at 31 August 2013. The cash outflow is the result of seasonal working capital increases in the agriculture division, and the on-going investment programme throughout the Group.
Undrawn banking facilities at 30 November 2013 were £14.0 million.
Subject to shareholder approval at today's AGM, the proposed final dividend of 16.5 pence per share will be paid on 17 January 2014 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 20 December 2013.
Tim Davies, Chief Executive, commented:
"We are pleased with the start we have made to the financial year. Against a challenging backdrop of a mild start to the winter in the UK, a vastly improved wheat harvest, and the continuing delays in the procurement of orders from the UK nuclear industry, trading remains in line with the Board's expectations.
We are making good progress across each of our divisions helped by our continued product innovation and sustained investment in our people and assets so that the business is well placed to ensure a long term competitive advantage. We will continue to explore opportunities to grow the business both domestically and overseas."
The Company expects to issue its Interim Results for the 26 week period ending 1 March 2014 on 14 April 2014.
|Carr's Group plc
Tim Davies (Chief Executive)
Neil Austin (Group Finance Director)
|Tel: +44 (0) 1228 554 600|
|Tel: +44 (0) 20 7250 1446|