Scottish packaging group reports 15% first quarter sales rise



Glasgow-based packaging manufacturer Macfarlane Group has reported an increase in sales of 15% during the first quarter, while profit was “well ahead” of last year.

Its latest trading update showed that it grew the distribution business by 10% due to an increase of sales from e-commerce customers and a slight recovery from its industrial customers.

However, this was offset by continued weakness in sales for aerospace, high street retail and hospitality customers.

Manufacturing operations sales were up by 45% during the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2020.

The AGM statement also revealed that Andrea Dunstan will step down from her advisory role on its board of directors.

She will step down at the end of her third year term on 1 September, with the board beginning to search for a new non-executive director and chair of the remuneration committee.

There were some signs of recovery in its design and manufacture business, mainly due to its buy out of GWP Holdings.

GWP was bought in March for £15.1m and a month later the company acquired Carters Packaging, a large manufacturer in the south-west of England for £4.5m. It reported that these businesses are progressing well since acquisition.

Macfarlane Group saw its net debt increase from £500,000 to £6m during the period, although this is well within the group’s current banks facilities of £30m.

Stuart Paterson, chairman at Macfarlane Group, said: “Covid-19, supply shortages and raw material price increases will continue to have an impact on the markets we serve for the remainder of 2021.

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“However, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to address such challenges and effectively support our customers.

“We are therefore confident that the resilience of our business model, together with the skill and commitment of our people, will ensure 2021 will be another year of good progress for Macfarlane Group.”

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