Carr’s shares up 8% as H1 revenue tops £201m

Shares of Carlisle-based agriculture and engineering firm Carr’s Group rose 8% on Wednesday after it said its revenues edged 0.7% higher to £201.4 million in the 26 weeks ended February 27, 2021, with an increase of 9.8% in its speciality agriculture business offset by a reduction in engineering and agricultural supplies of 5.4% and 0.5% respectively.

Reported profit before tax slipped 3.2% to £10.2 million, but Carr’s said it will pay an interim dividend of interim dividend of 1.175p per share (£4.39 million).

In its outlook, Carr’s said: “A continued positive performance is forecast across the agricultural divisions together with an improved second half in the engineering division as the impact of COVID-19 begins to recede and its order intake continues to increase.

“A programme of simplification and standardisation is forecast to improve performance over time.

“Trading since 27 February 2021 has been positive and the board’s expectations for the current financial year remain unchanged.”

Carr’s Group CEO Hugh Pelham said: “Despite a challenging operational environment with significant headwinds experienced in engineering we have delivered an improved performance compared to the same period last year.

“Our speciality agriculture and agricultural supplies divisions have performed particularly strongly.

“The outlook for engineering is for an improved performance in the second half of the financial year.

“I have been fortunate to inherit some sound foundations from my predecessor, Tim Davies.

“Carr’s Group owns a portfolio of good businesses with strong market positions.

“Our people have responded brilliantly to the challenge of working in a COVID-19 environment.

“I would like to thank them for their commitment and dedication in keeping all our stores, fuel depots and manufacturing operations running in such difficult times.

“An initial operating review has been conducted and the group is now structured in three divisions: Speciality Agriculture, Agricultural Supplies and Engineering to create greater operational efficiencies, market focus and provide greater transparency for investors.

“The results of our Speciality Agriculture division demonstrate the quality of our products in the feed block, minerals and animal health markets.

“Actions have been taken to strengthen reporting and governance systems within the business as part of a process to identify opportunities for improvement.

“Considerable opportunity exists to optimise the current portfolio through a process of standardisation, simplification and seeking synergies between similar businesses.

“Growth can be achieved through a mixture of geographic expansion, selling all our service lines to our customer base, and acquisition and potential industry consolidation.

“I am confident that the group will continue to deliver a resilient and improving set of results over time.”