City round-up: NWF Group; Coral Products
NWF Group said its first quarter trading period, typically its quietest, has been “strong”.
The Nantwich-based food, feed and fuel distributor is holding its annual general meeting later today, and chair, Philip Acton, has delivered a trading update to coincide with the meeting.
He said: “All three divisions have traded ahead of the board’s expectations and ahead of the prior year, with the group remaining cash positive.”
In Fuels, while volumes have been lower year on year, the company has been able to manage the continued volatility in the price of oil very effectively with the result that margins have been higher than seasonal norms.
Supply conditions have become more normalised over the summer period, with full availability of all fuel types across the country, although the price of Brent crude oil has continued to fluctuate, in a range between $94 and $124 per barrel. The board continues to pursue a number of acquisition opportunities in Fuels for further expansion of the business, in line with stated strategy.
The Food division has been trading ahead of expectations with storage capacity almost fully utilised and benefitting from further improvements in operating efficiencies. Demand from customers has been stable and predictable over the period which has supported operational efficiency, while storage volumes reached a peak of 129,000 pallet spaces, compared with a capacity of 135,000 pallet spaces, during the period.
In the Feeds division, performance has continued to show good recovery. Volumes were stable in comparison to the prior year, supported by an increase in demand in August, following the dry summer. Margins have remained robust following price increases underpinned by spot commodity prices trending downwards during the period.
Mr Acton said: “With the seasonally busier winter months to come, which are the most material to the group’s performance, the board’s outlook for the financial year remains unchanged at this early stage of the year. We continue to have confidence in the group’s future prospects and to target development opportunities supported by our strong balance sheet and banking facilities.”
Coral Products, the Wythenshawe-based plastics group, has achieved a strong start to its current financial period, shareholders will be told today.
The business is holding its annual general meeting at its Manchester offices at mid-day, and chairman, Joe Grimmond, will say: “The group has enjoyed a very strong start to our current financial period with sales and profits before tax materially ahead of the same period last year and in line with market expectations.
“We have successfully integrated the operations of Film and Foil Solutions Limited – sales of £10.3m for the year to December 21, 2020 – which was acquired in May 2022 and Alma Products Limited – sales of £12.3m for the year to December 31, 2021 – which was acquired in June 2022.
“Both these acquisitions had, as forecast, a small negative impact on the group’s profit before tax for the period, but the group’s profitability remains robust and both companies were acquired with expectations of improved performance as Coral begins to influence their direction. This was reflected in the price paid for the acquisitions.
“On 19th September 2022, the group announced the completion of the acquisition of Manplas Holdings. Manplas will be integrated into our specialist logistics solutions operations centred around Customised Packaging Limited which will allow the Tatra business, located adjacent to Manplas, to expand into the vacated unit. Manplas had sales of £2.7m in the year to 30th June 2021.
“Whilst the short term macroeconomic outlook remains challenging, the group will continue to seek opportunities to strengthen and develop our business. With our strong balance sheet, we are confident of further progress in the current financial period.
“In order that our shareholders can share in these improvements, your board has declared an interim dividend of 0.5p per share with an ex-dividend date of 10 November 2022 and record date of 11 November 2022. This interim dividend will be paid on 16 December 2022.”