Far­sons re­ports steady growth in a highly com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment

Malta Independent - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

Far­sons Group re­ported a ro­bust fi­nan­cial per­for­mance for the six months ended 31 July, with in­creases in both turnover and prof­itabil­ity when com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Group turnover amounted to €46 mil­lion with prof­its af­ter tax from the op­er­a­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, at €5.5 mil­lion, ex­ceed­ing last year’s record fig­ure by 20 per cent.

A solid per­for­mance of Malta’s econ­omy to­gether with sig­nif­i­cant growth in tourist ar­rivals and ex­pen­di­ture con­trib­uted to the im­proved Group per­for­mance, par­tic­u­larly in the com­pany’s brewed core beer brands. Fur­ther­more, the open­ing of two new fran­chised food out­lets in Mosta was the prime driver for an im­proved per­for­mance of this seg­ment while the food im­por­ta­tion busi­ness reg­is­tered im­proved turnover and prof­itabil­ity.

The profit for the pe­riod, in­clud­ing dis­con­tin­ued op­er­a­tions dropped by €796k, mainly re­sult­ing from a one-off ma­te­rial ad­just­ment of €1.8mil­lion in last year’s re­sults re­lat­ing to the changes in cap­i­tal gains tax­a­tion rules.

In re­view­ing the per­for­mance of the Group’s busi­ness, Far­sons Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Nor­man Aquilina said: “Our busi­ness re­mains highly de­pen­dent on the pre­vail­ing eco­nomic cli­mate, con­sumer con­fi­dence and dis­pos­able in­come to­gether with the per­for­mance of the tourism sec­tor.” He cau­tioned that “we are mon­i­tor­ing po­ten­tial ad­verse macro eco­nomic fac­tors such as the con­tin­u­ing soft­ness of eco­nomic growth across the EU and the on­go­ing sit­u­a­tion fol­low­ing the UK ref­er­en­dum in favour of Brexit which may im­pact the re­sults of the sec­ond half of the year. More­over, the sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tional de­pre­ci­a­tion charge on the in­vest­ment in the beer pack­ag­ing fa­cil­ity will also im­pact the full year’s re­sults”.

On the in­vest­ment side, con­struc­tion work on the ex­ten­sion of the lo­gis­tics cen­tre to­gether with the new of­fice space de­vel­op­ment to house the Group’s ad­min­is­tra­tive em­ploy­ees are cur­rently un­der­way.

Group Chair­man Louis A. Far­ru­gia re­ferred to the ad­di­tional work re­lated to the de­sign and busi­ness plan­ning for the Far­sons Busi­ness Park. He said that “the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion process is well un­der­way and the project is set to com­mence dur­ing the sec­ond half of 2017, fol­low­ing ap­proval at the 2017 an­nual gen­eral meet­ing”.

The Board of Di­rec­tors also rec­om­mended an in­terim div­i­dend of €1 mil­lion, sim­i­lar to last year payable out of tax ex­empt prof­its on 19 Oc­to­ber to those reg­is­tered or­di­nary share­hold­ers as at 5 Oc­to­ber 2016.

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