No big surprises as the adverse impact of mild winter weather in the UK and wet weather in the US on demand for feed blocks, animal feed and fuel had already been flagged as had the beneficial impact of a strong order book in the Engineering division. Group revenues were virtually unchanged year-on-year during FY19 at £403.9m, with commodity price inflation, the Animax acquisition in September 2018 and high utilisation levels in the Engineering businesses compensating for lower volumes of feed block and feed.
Pre-exceptional PBT (excluding amortisation of acquired intangibles and non-recurring items) rose by 7.0% to £18.9m, primarily because of the performance improvement in the Engineering division. This was ahead of our £18.1m estimate, in part because of a better than expected performance from NW Total following its acquisition in June 2019. The Group’s ability to achieve profit growth despite adverse weather conditions in both the UK and the US demonstrates the advantages of diversification both outside the Agriculture division and within it, as sales in the Country Stores network grew by 0.9% on a like-for-like basis.
Author: Anne Margaret Crow