Glanbia plc has published its annual results for the year ended January 3rd and the figures described as ‘good’ show an 18.5 per cent growth in adjusted earnings per share. However, growth this year is expected to be a low to mid single figure.
The company’s operating margin, pre exceptional, was up 80 basis points while
profit before tax and pre exceptionals was up 20.8 per cent. The adjusted earnings per share that rose 18.5 per cent followed a 25 per cent increase in 2007.
The performance of Glanbia’s international division was marginally down in 2008 as a strong performance by Food Ingredients USA and Nutritionals was offset by a difficult year for Food Ingredients Ireland. There were robust performances in the Irish division with ‘satisfactory results’ from Consumer Foods and Agribusiness & Property and it was also a good year for International Joint Ventures with a particularly strong performance from Southwest Cheese.
John Moloney, Group Managing Director, told The Munster Express: “Glanbia performed well in 2008 delivering a good set of results. We completed a major strategic acquisition and achieved key financial targets. All businesses, including joint ventures, performed to or better than anticipated with the exception of Food Ingredients Ireland which suffered a sharp decline in profits and margins in 2008.”
Mr Moloney predicted that this would be a tough year. “Global dairy markets have weakened considerably from previous high levels with the outlook for 2009 deteriorating further in the last two months. Food Ingredients Ireland will be the most challenged in this context and we expect this business to break even this year.
“Food Ingredients USA is expected to deliver a resilient performance, albeit down when compared with a strong result in 2008. Reducing farm incomes will have implications for farm input sales and as a result for revenue and profits in Agribusiness. Consumer Foods, Nutritionals and Joint Ventures & Associates are expected to deliver robust performances.
“Based on current market conditions, the Group now expects 2009 earnings to be in a range of low to mid single digit growth. Glanbia is continuing to maximise organic growth opportunities and aggressively manage costs to sustain the business through the current challenging environment”, said Mr Moloney.
Glanbia operates defined contribution and defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland and the UK and defined contribution schemes in the USA and other international locations. The deficit in the Group’s defined benefit pension schemes increased at the year end by €50.2 million to €164.4 million (2007: €114.2 million). The deficit on the Irish schemes at year end amounted to €142.4 million and €22.0 million related to UK schemes. This total deficit was impacted in the year by a negative return on pension fund assets and an enhancement in the actuarial assumptions used in the calculation of the pension liabilities.
The Board is recommending a final dividend of 3.76 cents per share (2007: final dividend 3.58 cents per share), an increase of 5%. This brings the total dividend for the year to 6.51 cents per share (2007: 6.08 cents per share), representing a total increase of 7.1% for the year. Subject to shareholder approval, dividends will be paid on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 to shareholders on the register of members as at Friday, 24 April 2009. Irish withholding tax will be deducted at the standard rate where appropriate.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM will be held on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny and the Annual Report will be posted on Wednesday, 8 April 2009.