Carr’s mulls strategic options amid search for CEO

Shares of Carlisle-based agriculture and engineering firm Carr’s Group rose about 3% on Tuesday after it announced a review of its strategic options across all its three divisions — Speciality Agriculture, Agricultural Supplies and Engineering.

Carr’s also said a process is underway to appoint new chief executive officer “which will be concluded as soon as possible.”

Carr’s announced in October that Hugh Pelham had stepped down as CEO after only nine months, leaving the group with immediate effect to “pursue other interests.”

Chairman Peter Page became executive chairman on an interim basis.

“The group’s portfolio is managed in three divisions, with financial performance reported accordingly,” said Carr’s in a trading update for its AGM.

“Each division has a strong market position and considerable potential for growth although, operating in different markets, the board recognises that there are limited opportunities to benefit from synergies.

“The board has therefore decided to conduct a review of its strategic options across all three divisions, which will include input from external advisers.

“The board will update investors at the time of the group’s interim results in April 2022.”

In its update on trading and outlook, Carr’s said: “The group made a positive start to the year with overall performance during the period broadly in line with the board’s expectations.

“Speciality Agriculture traded in line with expectations during the period with sales volumes ahead of the prior year, although margins were impacted by raw material price increases.

“Strong livestock prices are expected to underpin demand for the remainder of the financial year.

“Overall trading in our Agricultural Supplies division is on track, where a strong performance from our machinery business helped to offset the impact of raw material price volatility and a reduction in fuel volumes owing to milder weather.

“Engineering traded behind the board’s expectations in the period, but significantly ahead of the prior year driven by a strong performance in Fabrication and Precision Engineering and an improved performance in Remote Handling and Robotics.

“Order books across the division remain strong …

“The board is confident in the long-term prospects of the group, and its performance expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”