Macfarlane Group PLC Trading Update and Board Changes

Ivor Gray, newley appointed Group Finance Director at Macfarlane Group

Macfarlane Group PLC today provides an update on trading for the period from 30 June 2020 to 31 October 2020.

THE Board is pleased to announce that the Group sales revenue and profit before tax for the 2nd half of the year to date is ahead of the corresponding period in 2019.  These trends give us confidence that the full-year results for 2020 will be broadly in line with the 2019 profit before tax.

Sales revenue in the 4 months to 31 October 2020 was better than expected and has grown by 4% compared to the same period last year. This represents a strong recovery from Q2 when sales decreased by 5.2% due to the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

We have continued to achieve good sales growth in the internet retail, household essentials and medical sectors and seen improving sales in some industrial sectors.  However sales in the aerospace, high street retail and food service sectors will take some time to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels. The performance of the business in challenging market conditions clearly demonstrates the benefits of having a broad customer base across a variety of market sectors.

The net debt position at the 31 October 2020 was £0.8m which is in line with the debt at 30 June 2020. In the 4 months to the 31 October 2020 the cash generation in the business has fully funded the repayment of £5.4m from the various government support and tax deferral programmes, payment of the maximum earn out of £0.8m from the 2019 acquisition of Ecopac and payment of the interim dividend of £1.1m. The Group continues to report strong cash generation and is operating well within its existing bank facility of £30.0m.

Stuart Paterson, Chairman of Macfarlane Group, said:

“The Macfarlane Group performance in the second half of 2020 has been robust in the face of significant challenges.    This has only been achieved due to the outstanding commitment and hard work of our people.  We have focused on ensuring they can service our customers effectively by creating safe environments in which they can work. The health and wellbeing of our employees continues to be paramount. 

There remain uncertainties and concerns over future economic conditions. However, with our diversified customer base, strong added value sales proposition and highly capable and committed team Macfarlane Group has demonstrated it is well positioned to manage the challenges facing the business in the remainder of 2020 and beyond.”

Board changes

The Board of Macfarlane Group announces today that John Love has chosen to retire as Group Finance Director on 31 December 2020 and succeeding him in this position will be Ivor Gray whose appointment will be effective on 1 January 2021.

John joined Macfarlane Group in 1996 and was appointed Group Finance Director in 1999.  Throughout his career John has worked tirelessly and effectively in helping lead the Group through recovery, re-positioning and into its current growth phase. The strong financial and market position the business has today is in large part down to his efforts.

Following an extensive review of both internal and external candidates, Ivor Gray, currently Group Financial Controller and Company Secretary, has been chosen by the Board as successor to John Love as the Group Finance Director. A qualified chartered accountant, Ivor has worked at Macfarlane Group for 24 years in a variety of financial and commercial roles including Financial Director of Macfarlane Labels, General Manager of Macfarlane USA and Commercial Director of Macfarlane Packaging Distribution. Ivor has a wide experience and an in-depth knowledge of the business, making him the ideal candidate for the role of Group Finance Director. 

In order to ensure continuity and a smooth transition of responsibilities, Ivor Gray will be appointed to the Board of Macfarlane Group with immediate effect, in advance of assuming the Group Finance Director role.   John Love will remain as a director of Macfarlane Group PLC until 31 March 2021 at which point he will fully retire from the Board.

Commenting on the changes Stuart Paterson, Chairman of Macfarlane, said:

“The Board would like to record their gratitude to John Love for his long, dedicated and valued contribution and specifically for his part in helping to steer the company through the current pandemic.  We wish him a long and happy retirement.

The Board also welcomes Ivor Gray to his new role. His extensive knowledge and experience of the business will enable an effective and orderly transition and help ensure Macfarlane Group continues to progress.”

The Company confirms that this announcement has been made subject to Listing Rule 9.6.11. Ivor Gray has a beneficial interest in 66,652 ordinary shares of 25p each in the Company and holds Long-Term Incentive Plan awards over 181,992 ordinary shares of 25p each in the Company.

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