Carr’s of Carlisle sees agriculture hit by US drought

Shares of Carlisle-based agriculture and engineering firm Carr’s Group fell about 10% on Friday after it published a trading update for the financial year ending September 2, 2023.

“As set out in the company’s interim results in May 2023, trading has been challenging for the Speciality Agriculture division,” said Carr’s.

“In the current financial year, demand is lower in the USA due to drought conditions and in the UK due to higher costs of all farm inputs.

“Expectations for August 2023, historically a strong trading month, have now been moderated by delayed recovery in our markets.

“From FY24 onwards management anticipates long-term recovery for this division as drought in the USA continues to recede and herds are rebuilt.

“The Engineering division has high activity levels and is trading in line with the prior financial year, delivering a strong H2. The current orderbook provides confidence for the next 18 months.

“Following the strategic disposal of the Agricultural Supplies division, completed in October 2022, the group has incurred higher central costs in the course of concluding the transitional services agreement, now expected to complete before the end of calendar 2023, thereby freeing up key resources to focus on priorities in the remaining business.

“The board expects adjusted profit before tax for the current financial year to be in the region of £8 million, and remains confident in the group’s longer-term prospects.

“The group continues to maintain a net cash positive position following the receipt of proceeds related to the sale of the Agricultural Supplies division.”

A second interim dividend of 1.175p per share will be paid on September 29.