Carr’s H1 revenue tops £206m but profit slips

Shares of Carlisle-based agriculture and engineering firm Carr’s Group fell about 9% on Monday after it said its revenue rose 3% to £206.2 million in the 26 weeks to March 2, but statutory profit before tax fell 2.6% to £10.3 million.

Adjusted profit before tax rose 4.5% to £11.4 million.

In its outlook, Carr’s said: ” We remain confident in the medium term prospects of the agriculture division.

“In the UK, while there is now greater visibility in relation to farming support post Brexit, uncertainty around the future trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world has impacted farmer confidence in the immediate term, leading to increased caution among the farming community.

“The integration of our strategic acquisition of Animax is progressing well and has broadened our product range.

“In the USA our footprint across the eastern and south eastern states continues to expand.

“In our engineering division, the order books in our UK Manufacturing and USA Engineering businesses are strong, driven by improved manufacturing processes and a strengthened management team, which together have contributed to a significant increase in performance. 

“As expected, in the short term, the order book in our Remote Handling business remains softer, however, the major new contract secured in the USA, which will mainly impact FY20, provides confidence in the medium term.”

Carr’s Group CEO said Tim Davies said: “The group delivered a good performance during the first half of the financial year and trading remains in line with the board’s expectations for the full year.

“During the period, our agriculture division was impacted by challenging external market conditions, including unseasonably mild weather in marked contrast to the same period in 2018, and continued uncertainty in the UK around Brexit.

“However, we were able to mitigate the effect of these challenges through improved efficiencies, operating cost controls and better procurement.

“I am pleased to report that our engineering division had a strong start to the year as a result of good performances in our UK Manufacturing and USA Engineering businesses. 

“We are now seeing strong order books across the division, driven by contract wins, and we have improved manufacturing processes and strengthened our management teams.

“Trading in the second half of the year has started in line with expectations, and the board’s outlook for the full year remains unchanged. 

“We also remain confident in the medium term prospects of the group as we continue to invest across our divisions, expand our product offering and grow our international footprint.”