Coronavirus Update

Nichols Plc - Year-End Results

Nichols Plc

John Nichols, Non-Executive Chairman, said:

"I am pleased to report on a year of further progress during which Nichols achieved continued revenue growth in both our International and UK businesses. As a result, the Group delivered year-on-year increases in profit before tax and earnings per share and we are today proposing a final dividend of 28.0 pence per share, resulting in a 6.0% increase in the full year dividend.

The Group's performance demonstrates the strength of our diversified business model, which provides a strong platform to deliver continued growth."

Chairman's Statement

I am pleased to announce another strong performance from Nichols plc. During the year, the Group delivered further progress against its strategic objectives, successfully increasing revenue, profit and earnings per share. This performance was delivered against challenging market conditions as has been widely reported elsewhere.

Trading

Total Group revenue increased by 3.5% to £147.0m (2018: £142.0m). Both our UK and International businesses contributed to this positive performance.

UK sales grew by 2.5% to £117.5m (2018: £114.6m).

Within the UK business, Vimto brand sales performed well, increasing by 0.8% against very strong prior year comparatives (2018: +12.9%). This performance was primarily driven by the Still category where sales of Vimto dilutes grew by 15% and continued to gain market share.

Elsewhere in our UK business, Out of Home sales increased by 8.0% to £45.5m (2018: £42.2m) and now contribute 31% of Group revenue. This increase was largely driven by the acquisition of one of our post mix and coffee distributors (Adrian Mecklenburgh Limited) and the growth of frozen beverages into the cinema channel. The continued growth in Out of Home demonstrates our diversified strategy and is a result of the significant investment in this part of our business over recent years.  

International sales grew by 7.5% to £29.5m (2018: £27.4m). In our African markets, revenues were £13.0m compared to £13.6m in the prior year. Sales to the Middle East grew by 20.6% to £11.6m against softer prior year comparatives (2018: £9.6m). As anticipated, this performance reflects a return to normal levels of concentrate sales during the year. Within the region, we achieved our best ever sales performance of the Vimto brand during Ramadan 2019.

Elsewhere in our International regions, there was good growth in the USA, which is primarily a Stills market (+23.1% to £1.4m) and Europe which is primarily a Carbonate market (+5.2% to £3.3m). 

Group Profit Before Tax was £32.4m for the year, an increase of 2.1% compared to the prior year (2018: £31.8m).

Dividend

As a reflection of the Board's confidence in the Group's long-term financial position and the performance in the year, we are pleased to recommend a final dividend of 28.0 pence per share (2018: 26.8 pence).

If approved by our shareholders, the total dividend for 2019 will be 40.4 pence per share (2018: 38.1 pence), an increase of 6.0% on the prior year. Subject to shareholder approval, the final dividend will be paid on 1 May 2020 to shareholders registered on 20 March 2020; the ex-dividend date is 19 March 2020. 

Summary

In summary, the Board is pleased with the Group's performance in 2019. Despite the market headwinds, the business has once again delivered profitable sales growth, maintained its strong cash generative model and as a Board, we are proposing a final dividend of 28.0 pence per share, resulting in a 6.0% increase in the full year dividend. 

Outlook

Further to our trading announcement on 23 December 2019 regarding the new Sweetened Beverage Excise Tax in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, we anticipate being in a position to update the market in our Interim Results Announcement on 22 July 2020. At that point in time, we will have the benefit of the data post the critical Ramadan trading period.

Elsewhere across the Group, we are confident that our diversified and profitable business model will support the continued growth trend into 2020 and beyond.   

 

*EBITDA is the statutory profit before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation

Year ended

31 Dec 2019

Year ended

31 Dec 2018

 

 

£m

£m

 

 

 

 

 

Group Revenue

147.0

142.0

+3.5%

 

 

 

 

Operating Profit

32.4

31.6

+2.5%

Operating Profit margin

22.1%

22.3%

 

EBITDA*

37.0

33.8

+9.5%

Profit Before Tax

32.4

31.8

+2.1%

PBT margin

22.1%

22.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings Per Share (basic)

72.81p

69.23p

+5.2%

Final dividend

28.0p

26.8p

+4.5%