Macfarlane Group profits from online retail growth

Macfarlane Group has been boosted with improved profits and turnover thanks to its strong performing packaging distribution division.


Its results for 2015 showed a 20.7% rise in pre-tax profit to £6.8m while group turnover was up 9.9% to £169.1m. Turnover in the packaging distribution business was up 13% to £143m. The proposed full year dividend rose 10% to 1.82p.

Speaking to Packaging News, chief executive Peter Atkinson said that it was the sixth consecutvie year of profit growth and that there was strong organic growth in the packaging distribution arm. The division’s performance was being driven by the expansion of online retail and the increasing demand for protective packaging.

“We have made three acquisitions in the last 18 months – Lane Packaging, Network Packaging and One Packaging,” said Atkinson. “All are performing well and fitting into the business.”

Atkinson added that Macfarlane is set to add to its portfolio in the coming months following a bank agreement to support the funding of further acquisitions.

“When you look at the forward forecasts, shopping on the web is set for double digit growth for several years,” said Atkinson. “That’s an ongoing trend.”

On the broader outlook, Atkinson said that the business was flexible and robust enough to cope with a potential UK exit from the EU.

Commenting on the 2015 results, Macfarlane Group chairman Graeme Bissett said: “We will continue to focus on opportunities in sectors with strong growth prospects, including internet retail, third party logistics and National Accounts and deliver high standards of service to all customers. We will also maintain our programme of acquiring good quality businesses to augment organic growth. This strategy has served all stakeholders in our business well in recent years and will continue to do so.

“The positive trends seen in 2015 have been sustained in the early part of 2016 and Macfarlane Group has started the year well.”