RPC revenue and profits jump but share prices drop

RPC has reported a huge jump in revenue and profits but seen share prices dive simultaneously.

The rigid plastics giant recorded and increase of 67% in revenues to £2.75bn in the 12 months to 31 March 2017, compared with a year earlier, while operating profit was up 77% to £308.2m, as well as a 3% growth in like-for-like sales.

Shares, however, dropped by 7% yesterday at the FTSE 250 group – attributed to questions around company’s spending on acquisitions. The Financial Times reported an analyst accusing the firm of concealing poor underlying operating performance through recent acquisitions.

Performance at GCS and British Polythene Industries (BPI) – its two big acquisitions – was “better than expected”, helping pre-tax profits to surge to £155m.

Nicholas Mockett, head of packaging M&A at Moorgate Capital, told Packaging News it was unusual to see a company report such an increase in performance and yet see it’s share price heading in the opposite direction.

“Some analysts are questioning the group’s underlying performance and whether the recent M&A is obscuring a problem, but it is important to remember that the financial markets dont always get it right,” he said.

RPC chief executive Pim Vervaat said: “The implementation of the Vision 2020 growth strategy is progressing well, reflected in a good trading performance in 2016/17 with continued organic growth and achieving record profitability levels with robust cash generation.

“Acquisitions made since the launch of the strategy in 2013 continue to add value including the recent GCS and BPI acquisitions, whose performance in the year was better than expected.

“Going forward, the group continues to explore opportunities for growth in line with its strategy. The new financial year has started in line with management’s expectations.”