Finweek English Edition - - Openers -

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.

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