BOWLED OVER (AT LAST)
IT HAD to happen sometime. Packaging group Bowler Metcalf finally produced a set of results with a profit decline – the first time in 20 years of being listed on the JSE. Interim results to endDecember showed earnings down 4% to R25m as a result of the core plastics packaging operation enduring what CE Mike Brain describes as “unprecedented raw material price increases of approximately 40%”. Cash flow was down markedly at around R6m, but there’s some confidence over secondhalf trading, with the interim dividend increasing to 9,1c/share.
The most encouraging aspect of the interims was that bottling subsidiary Quality Beverages tripled profits to R3,3m despite grappling with a nationwide shortage of CO2 in peak summer months. With raw material prices softening, Bowler Metcalf may well show some impetus at bottom line for the full year.