StockMarketWire.com - Convenience foods producer Greencore Group said Tuesday annual pre-tax profit rose by a double-digit percentage amid good growth in the UK as 'favourable' consumer and retailer trends helped drive its core food to go business.

For the 12 months ended 28 September, pre-tax profit rose 12.7% to £17.8m, while revenue rose 4.2% to £1.50bn. Adjusted earnings a share was 15.1p, which was in line with the previously announced guidance in line with guidance provided in October.

The Group's activities in food to go categories accounted for over 60% of revenue in the full-year, and reported revenue growth in these categories was 11.1%, the company said. Pro forma revenue, which excluded the impact of the Heathrow sandwich facility acquisition in 2017, was 10.8%.

Profits were weighed down, however, by exceptional costs relating the streamlining and efficiency programme implemented in the UK and costs associated with the company's exit from its cakes and desserts businesses.

Adjusted profit before tax fell 0.6% to £79.6m. Following the sale of its US business, Greencore said return the proceeds of £509m to shareholders through a tender offer, with any remaining proceeds expected to be returned by way of a special dividend.

'After a consultation exercise with shareholders in recent weeks, the Group notes the preference of many of its shareholders to be offered a choice regarding their participation in the proposed capital return,' the company said.

Looking ahead to the new fiscal year, the company said it expected underlying revenue growth in its key convenience food categories, driven by improved operational performance, and by a planned review of central overheads.

'Although the Group believes the risks from Brexit are manageable in the medium-term, the near-term challenges associated with a 'no withdrawal agreement' are uncertain,' Greencore said.



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